News

26/Jul/2017

From the CDC:

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, 36 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported each year; about 134,200 die. In the United States, most of the measles cases result from international travel. The disease is brought into the United States by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries. They spread measles to others, which can cause outbreaks.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally.

Before any international travel—

  • Infants 6 months through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
  • Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity* against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.

† Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).

* Acceptable presumptive evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following: written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles, or birth in the United States before 1957.

Get more information on the measles from the CDC >


19/Jun/2017

How Infected Backyard Poultry Could Spread Bird Flu to People

Bird Flu & People

It is rare for people to get infected with bird flu viruses, but it can happen. Bird flu viruses can infect people when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. This might happen when virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or when a person touches something that has virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes or nose. (See picture on reverse side.) Most bird flu infections in people have happened after unprotected contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces. In some cases, however, no direct contact has been reported. No human bird flu infections have been reported from proper handling of poultry meat or from eating properly cooked poultry or poultry products.

CDC Article and Information Link >

Downloadable PDF on Avian Flu Transmission

Downloadable Avian Flu Transmission – Spanish


16/Jun/2017

Germbusters Travel Kit_May17

Stay safe! Planes, trains, cars, cruise ships, hotel rooms, dorms, campsites & more! Germ Busters Travel Kit provides the infection protection you need for travel, commuting, or anywhere you go.

  • Protect your hands from contaminants or when cleaning surfaces
    • CareMates Nitrile Gloves (2 gloves)
  • Clean surfaces like trays, tables, countertops, doorknobs, faucets, toilet handles and seats
    • SaniZide Pro Surface Disinfectant Wipe (1 wipe)
  • Clean your hands without soap and water
    • BZK Antiseptic Hand Wipes (2 wipes)
  • Protect yourself from inhaling air-borne germs
    • CareMates Flat Fold Face Mask

30/Nov/2015

What is the Kissing Bug?

“Kissing bugs” have been invading headlines for the past two weeks as the CDC has reported the deadly bug has made its way into the United States. They’ve been found in 28 states.  Estimates of human cases of Chagas disease in the US range from 300,000 to over 1 million, with particular concern for those living in the US/Mexico border regions. An estimated 9 million people are infected in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in impoverished areas. According to the World Health Organization, the largest number of people living with Chagas disease are in poor areas of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Mexico.

How concerned should you be?

Kissing Bugs  transmit Chagas, a chronic heart disease caused by the blood parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.  Chagas infection is strongly linked with poverty, and kissing bugs are mostly found in homes with dirt floors and in poor repair. If you spend lots of time outdoors in wooded areas, then you might need to think about controlling your exposure to these bugs. A high percentage of the kissing bugs in Texas are infected with the trypanosome parasite and show evidence of feeding on human blood. Dogs also can be infected.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 4.06.33 PM

Kissing bugs are a relative of bed bugs, and they both feed the same way. They stick a beaky straw into your skin and drink your blood. It’s not the bite that transmits the disease. Kissing bugs poop after they feed, and if the bug is infected, its poop contains the parasite. When you scratch the itchy bite there is a chance you will rub the bug feces into the wound. Unless you get poop from an infected bug under your skin you won’t get infected with Chagas.

If you manage to be bitten by one of these bugs, and if a very specific set of circumstances occur, odds are you still won’t be infected. Research suggests that it can take more than 900 bites for transmission to occur.

Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis,  still should not be taken lightly. It is a leading cause of heart disease resulting in a debilitating and often fatal condition known as Chagasic cardiomyopathy. One in six people with Chagasic cardiomyopathy will die within five years.

How can you avoid your exposure?

Start by reducing the amount of debris and vegetation directly around your home, such as leaf piles and stacks of wood. This also reduces places that rodents might nest, since they are known hosts of kissing bugs. Repair cracks and gaps in homes; make sure screens and doors are tight. Outdoor lights will sometimes attract kissing bugs; minimizing the amount of lights left on at night around your home may help.

For more information on Kissing Bugs and Changas disease visit the CDC directly at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/vectors/.  Here at Shepard Medical our mission is to help keep you safe from infectious diseases; as always tweet any questions to us at @ShepardMedical.

 


06/Nov/2015

It’s #FluFactFriday!

Did you know according to the CDC Influenza affects about 20% of Americans every year. In the United States alone, it is estimated that about 36,000 people will die of the flu or flu-related complications every season. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to get vaccinated! If you do find yourself experiencing illness you might find yourself wondering if you just have a cold or if you have the dreaded flu. Use this chart below to help guide you, and as always seek medical care if you are experiencing flu like symptoms.

cold-or-flu-infographic


12/Oct/2015

Each year roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (48 million people) get sick, approximately 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. By reducing foodborne illness by just 1% about 500,000 Americans would keep from getting sick each year; reducing foodborne illness by 10% would keep about 5 million from getting sick. That is a lot of people! From protecting yourself from potentially contaminated food at the grocery store, to property storing, cleaning and cooking food at home, below are food and safety tips you should practice to help keep you and your family safe.

Smart Shopping

Be aware of potential safety risks when purchasing food at grocery stores or farmers markets, and from wholesalers. Visit the Food and Drug Administration and Food Safety and Inspection Service websites for the latest food and drug recalls. Follow @USDAFoodSafety and @FDArecalls on twitter to get the latest recall information, you can also follow us at @ShepardMedical where we post food recalls in the US. FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) recommends: “If you sense there’s a problem with any food product, don’t consume it. ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’” Do not eat or taste food from cans that bulge or leak or that have a sticky residue or an unusual smell as the food could be contaminated. Read food packaging labels for instructions on how to store foods after opening and for expiration dates.

Be especially careful when picking out produce and meat. Make sure the produce is not bruised because pathogens are more likely to grow on bruised areas. Be aware of fungus growing on produce because spores could be inside it. Always check for insects on produce. Raw meat, poultry and fish can be contaminated with bacteria, so it is best to put the product in a bag to reduce cross-contamination with other grocery items. If your local grocer does not keep bags at the meat counter don’t be afraid to suggest it.

Food preparation

Proper temperature is important to keep food safe. Buy a food thermometer to ensure you are cooking raw meats and eggs to proper temperatures. Store food promptly in a refrigerator at 40 F or cooler. Do not overload refrigerators or freezers as that may prevent cool air from circulating. Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.

Storage

Proper storage helps maintain food at safe temperatures and prevents cross contamination. Store milk, eggs, seafood and meat inside the refrigerator or freezer, not in door compartments. This keeps food at a steadier temperature. Store raw meat in the lowest compartment of the refrigerator and make sure that it isn’t leaking blood. Do not store food under the sink. Pipe leaks could contaminate it. Also don’t store food near chemicals or cleaning products. Seafood should always stay in the refrigerator or freezer until cooking time.

Washing

Washing may reduce risk in some but not all foods. Do not wash eggs. They already have been washed in commercial production. An extra washing may increase risk of cross-contamination or crack the shell Do not wash meat or poultry as this does not remove pathogens. Washing produce with cold running water removes dirt, reducing (but not completely eliminating) bacteria that may be present. Don’t use soap or detergent, or you may ingest it.
Practice the above tips to help purchase and prepare healthy food. If you have any additional questions we’re here to help! Tweet us @ShepardMedical. Also follow us on Pinterest where we are continually pinning food safety tips!


11/Sep/2015

Let’s face it—it’s always flu season.

Regardless of what month it is, being a student at any school or college is always going to put you at risk of disease. Doorknobs, handrails, chairs and countless other common objects we come in contact with every day are shared between thousands upon thousands of other young adults, and not everyone stays on their hygiene-A-game.

Most of the time, tips and tricks for staying healthy during the school year don’t begin to come out until the dreaded flu season of the winter months claim the first few hundred of its victims.

It is true that with October, November, and December come thousands of strains of sometimes deadly diseases, and often these illnesses can put a serious dent in your social and academic lives. Start your hygiene habits early this year!

  1. Get Vaccinated: Make sure vaccinations are up to date before heading off to school. Crammed classrooms and communal living can put students at greater risk of contagious illnesses. In 2014, an outbreak of mumps sickened more than 150 students at the Ohio State University; the disease can be spread through coughing, sneezing, or sharing cups and utensils. It’s preventable with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. College campuses have also been the epicenter of outbreaks of meningococcal disease, a rare but serious illness that can lead to brain damage, limb amputations or even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a meningococcal vaccine for teens, especially before entering college or the military
  2. Exposure: Keep your distance! If someone has a cold or the flu, give him or her space! Viruses spread through airborne transmission or personal contact. Wash your hands! Viruses can survive on doorknobs, keyboards, desks, light switches and many other objects. If you touch them and touch your nose or mouth you just exposed yourself to the germs. Wash your hands after being in a public place.
  3. Sleep: Although at college a late-night party with friends or the occasional all-nighter to cram for a mid-term is understandable, it’s best not to make it a habit. A lack of sleep can have physical and mental consequences including reduced brain function, weight loss or gain, and an increased vulnerability to sickness. Students need a good seven to 10 hours of sleep per night. During sleep, the brain converts short-term memories into long-term memories, which can help to retain recently learned information. People learn and remember more when they spend a smaller amount of time studying and a longer amount of time sleeping. Our bodies and minds grow while we sleep, and sleep is very important in the function of the immune system. People who get enough sleep therefore do better academically and are less likely to become ill due to these functions.

We are continually pinning new tips and facts for staying healthy this school year on Pinterest.

We’re also always here to answer your infection protection questions, tweet any questions to us @ShepardMedical.  Have a happy and healthy school year!


30/Jul/2015

What is MRSA and how to protect yourself.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more popularly known as MRSA is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.

Most MRSA infections occur in people who’ve been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it’s known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.

Another type of MRSA infection has occurred in the wider community — among healthy people. This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.

Symptoms:

If not treated promptly and correctly MRSA can lead to serious health complications, even death. MRSA generally starts as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also burrow deep into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.

Always keep a close eye on minor skin conditions, particularly in children. If a wound becomes infected see a doctor immediately. MRSA is not something you should attempt to treat on your own, as it can worsen rapidly and can spread to other people.

Where are you most likely to get MRSA?

Because hospital and community strains of MRSA generally occur in different settings, the risk of contracting the two strains differ.

Risk factors for health care-associated MRSA

  • Being hospitalized. MRSA remains a concern in hospitals, where it can attack those most vulnerable — older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
  • Having an invasive medical device. Medical tubing — such as intravenous lines or urinary catheters — can provide a pathway for MRSA to travel into your body.
  • Residing in a long-term care facility. MRSA is prevalent in nursing homes. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they’re not sick themselves.

Risk factors for community-associated MRSA

  • Participating in contact sports. MRSA can spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
  • Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of MRSA have occurred in military training camps, child care centers and jails.
  • Men having sex with men. Homosexual men have a higher risk of developing MRSA infections.

Tests and diagnosis

Doctors diagnose MRSA by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of drug-resistant bacteria. The sample is sent to a lab where it’s placed in a dish of nutrients that encourage bacterial growth. But because it takes about 48 hours for the bacteria to grow, newer tests that can detect staph DNA in a matter of hours are now becoming more widely available.

Treatments and drugs

Both health care-associated and community-associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics may not be necessary. Doctors may drain a superficial abscess caused by MRSA rather than treat the infection with drugs.

How to protect yourself from MRSA

  • In the hospital, people who are infected or colonized with MRSA often are placed in isolation as a precaution to prevent the spread of MRSA. Visitors and health care workers caring for people in isolation may be required to wear protective garments and must follow strict hand hygiene procedures. Contaminated surfaces and laundry items should be properly disinfected.
  • Wash your hands. Careful hand-washing remains your best defense against germs. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.
  • Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
  • Shower after athletic games or practices. Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don’t share towels.
  • Sanitize linens. If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.

With fall sports right around the corner be sure to protect yourself and see a doctor if you have cuts or scrapes that become infected. Still have questions about MRSA? Tweet us @ShepardMedical more information


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Shepard Medical Products has been an industry leader in the field of Infection Protection for the medical and food industries since 1986. Throughout the company’s history, Shepard has enjoyed progressive, steady growth by providing the highest quality, infection control solutions to our customers.

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