It’s tick time!

Tick Time?

What with the winter being very mild and the spring already having topped 26 C in our area, the ticks are back. We know because one was found on a child at our school last week. So, time to talk about them again….

Ticks are small creatures which will attach themselves to your skin, bite and drink your blood. Many of them are happy to attach to humans, dogs or other animals. There are about 20 species in BC, but only 3 will bite humans. Oh, and they can’t fly or jump!Ticks Sizes from HealthLink BC

Preventing Ticks

  • Cover up before you go out. This may include long sleeves & full length trousers. Consider some kind of cap or hat. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots.
  • Consider insect repellant on bare skin.
  • When you return, check yourself and your companions for ticks – including your scalp.
  • Walk on well cleared trails where possible.
  • Avoid narrow trails which are obvious game routes.
  • Keep lawns short & yard free from leaves & weeds.
  • Keep play equipment away from words & forested areas.

Treatment for Ticks

  • If you do find a tick, brush it off. If it hasn’t started biting, that’s all you need to do.
  • If you find one, check carefully for others
  • If the tick is already biting, use pointed tweezers. Grasp as close to the skin as you can and pull it straight out.
  • Try not to crush or damage the tick. If you want it testing for Lyme Disease it needs to be alive.
  • Clean the bite (soap & water is fine) – it’s still a bite after all!

There are a whole bunch of other methods for removing them. If you have one that works, comment below so we can all learn. Avoid removal methods which risk harming yourself or child e.g.: burning them off with gasoline.

Lyme Disease

  • As far as BC goes, ticks carrying Lyme Disease are more common in coastal BC than the interior. But, well… people travel and ticks can hitch a ride on your dog.
  • About 3/4 of people infected with Lyme Disease will develop the bulls-eye (or Target) rash. But that means 1/4 won’t – don’t use this as your only symptom.
  • Other symptoms include fever, headache, joint aches & pains.
  • If you have the rash or other symptoms, time to see your doctor. In the early stages Lyme Disease is completely treatable.
  • Locally (coastal BC) some docs will treat everyone who was bitten, others will try to have the tick tested first.
  • Untreated Lyme Disease can cause arthritis, heart problems, nervous system disorders and all kinds of nastiness. Deal with it early!

Finally….

Get outside and have fun! Just be aware of what can happen.

BC Ministry of Agriculture Tick page

Healthlink BC includes tick information in various languages besides English

BC CDC on Lyme Disease

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Making Your Business a Safer Place

People keep saying that the world has gone health and safety mad. It’s unsurprising really – following large numbers of legal battles in America, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and it became extremely important that businesses became vigilant and take steps to eliminate risks to their staff and visitors.

But despite this fact, it seems as though many companies still neglect even the most basic health and safety requirements. Sometimes it is due to negligence, but more often it is due to lack of knowledge. Health and safety is a rather expansive area of legal requirements for businesses, and as a company gets larger it can be harder and harder to maintain certain standards. But as we mentioned before, it is increasingly important that levels of health and safety are maintained, because nowadays a court case is only part of your concerns – various regulation bodies are more than happy to close you down or hand you a rather large fine.

So short of going on a course to learn every aspect of health and safety, what is the best way to keep up with the growing demands of the health and safety world?

Risk Management

You’ll often hear people saying that health and safety is all just common sense, which, to a certain extent, is true. Sadly you’ll be surprised at just how many of your employees, who are otherwise very intelligent, seem to lack common sense.

What health and safety really is, at its essence, is risk management. You are ensuring that your place of work is safe to work in, and by analysing the potential for a problem in all areas of your work place you can quickly eliminate any issues. One of the best ways to prevent problems once you’ve identified and isolated a potential risk is through signage.hgg

Signage is an excellent method of reminding staff about their initial training, in which you cover all the elements of health and safety within your company, and even help them to recognise risks.

Signage is a simple, cheap and effective way to ensure that you are health and safety proofed. In fact, signage is one of the most important elements required by regulators. Signage is a good way to remind staff about the safety precautions that they need to take whilst performing their duties.

Plans and Checks

Some people don’t read signs. We can’t be certain why, but, for whatever reason, even big signs with bold words and big red symbols don’t catch the attention of some workers. So, it is important that when placing signs up, you ensure that your staff are aware of the signs. You don’t need to hold their hands as they read it, of course, but it is important that they are aware of it, just as they should be aware of a health and safety book, including injury forms and a the location of first aid kits, fire exits and fire hydrants. These are all important in the event of an emergency.

Once you have all these things in place and you have notified your staff about the location and proper use of all these items and pieces of signage, it is important that you check knowledge and continue to check that the proper procedures are being followed.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Today’s visiting author is Martyn Lloyd, the Director for health and safety sign supplier – Cube Safety Signs. Martyn has a wealth of experience in the industry and thinks it is important for SME’s to do regular health and safety checks.

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Tummy Upsets in Kids

There are lots of reasons kids can have tummy upsets and this post could go on for ever, but here are two things you might come across in your day-to-day care setting. To help you prepare for kids tummy upsets (and any illness really), make sure you have proper medical protocols/guidelines in place.

Kids Tummy Upset #1 – Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is a symptom, usually of an infection. It can be caused by several different kinds of germs and can easily be spread from one person to another. Hygiene and hand washing are important. Food Poisoning is also a cause of diarrhoea, again often because of germs or toxins from the bad food. Changes in diet can also cause diarrhoea.

What to look for:

  • stomach pains/cramping in the abdomen,
  • unusually frequent, liquid bowel movements,
  • blood in the stool,
  • dehydration (dry diaper, or peeing less often is one sign)

There is no specific number of bowel movements which indicate diarrhoea. Some people are ‘normal’ when they go twice daily, other people might go twice a week usually. It’s a case of spotting what’s different from normal for your kids.

Get medical attention for anyone who has

  • blood or mucous in the stool,
  • diarrhoea and vomiting together,
  • diarrhoea lasting more than 72 hrs (3 days),
  • unusually foul-smelling diarrhoea especially if the stool contains mucous.

General care includes letting them rest if needed and keeping them hydrated. Keep them on clear fluids for 24 hrs (no food, milk, ‘sodas’, etc.). If the diarrhoea persists beyond 24 hrs, talk to their parents or the doc about specific rehydration solutions which may be appropriate. If diarrhoea is severe, consider restricting activities for that day. Disinfect change/toilet areas (and anywhere else which may be contaminated) very carefully. Remember hand washing!

 

 Kids Tummy Upset #2 – Nausea/vomiting

tummy upsetCan have very many causes, but be aware that there may be an underlying condition which could be contagious. Persistent vomiting could be caused by illness, emotional upset, a reaction to medications, food/diet changes, or food poisoning. Other causes of vomiting are beyond this post, but if vomiting comes with a change in consciousness (eg: a head injury) call 9-1-1 for help.

What to look for:

  • nausea,
  • stomach pains,
  • vomiting

Get medical attention if

  • the vomiting does not pass (they continue to vomit, or try to, for hours)
  • there is also diarrhoea,
  • there is unexpected pain (beyond the normal tummy cramps),
  • there is blood in the vomit.

General care includes letting them rest if needed and keeping them hydrated. Keep them on clear fluids at first, once they start to feel better they can begin to try small amounts of plain foods – toast, bread, milk, nothing spicy at first! Remember to wipe down toilet areas or other spills and practice good hand hygiene.

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How to provide Workplace Safety Training

Safety Moments discussionBefore you do anything else, check your attitude. Do you believe safety training is important? If so, it will show. If your attitude makes staff think the training is boring or silly, that will show too. Make workplace safety training a priority and your staff will too! Be sure to consult with staff, unions, safety reps or whomever needs to be involved in the process so that you can agree what’s needed and get agreement. It should be easy – everyone wants to stay safe and uninjured. OK, done that? Then do this….

Decide what training is needed

  • Identify the skills and training needed for your workplace
  • Compare the needs with your staff current skills.
  • Review workplace injuries, accidents, near-misses, etc.
  • Consider awareness training needs for everyone – Awareness of bullying legislation for example

Prioritize

Unless you’re already on top of everything (and why not comment below to let us all know how you do that!) then next, prioritize your training needs. Remembering of course that all this needs to fit in with the day-to-day running of your business.Pulled in all directions

  • There are many external experts who can help. If you’re in our area for example, we can come to you and offer first aid training.
  • Much of your training can be done in-house or elsewhere at the convenience of you and your staff. For example we offer close to 200 workplace safety training courses on-line.
  • However you choose to get your training, make sure it meets YOUR worker’s needs.
  • If you have a lot of workers who have English as a second language, perhaps consider getting the training in their language – we offer our workplace first aid in French, for example.
  • If many of your staff struggle to read, then a spoken training session or our on-line video training might be a better consideration.

Deliver the training by your chosen method(s)

  • You can deliver the same training in several different ways if that makes sense to your situation
  • Make sure the training is easy to understand and staff can be (reasonably) assured of success
  • Where it’s appropriate make sure your trainers are certified to deliver that training
  • Make sure staff get the necessary certificates (of success, completion, attendance, whatever)

Feedback time!

  • Good trainers will include this in the course (we require feedback from all our workplace first aid students)
  • Get feedback from your staff – it’s easier for them to tell you the class was useless than it is for them to tell the trainer!
  • Has the training worked? Do staff now know what is expected of them?
  • Check that they actually work as taught, and use the safe practices they now know.
  • Is more training needed? Did the course show other gaps? For example in our First Aid, we also discuss WHMIS training.

Get it all documented!

See our article on that topic.

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