FDA campaign reframes quitting for smokers


The Food and Drug Administration’s Every Try Counts anti-smoking campaign is competing with tobacco ads for a smoker’s attention at the convenience store counter.

print ad for smoking cessation campaign mentioned in article, FDA campaign reframes quitting for smokersEvery Try Counts, which will launch in January, is the FDA’s first smoking cessation campaign targeting adults. The FDA wants to reframe quitting smoking for this audience as a process that often takes more than one attempt.

See also: Anti-smoking group Truth releases musical FOMO spot for MTV Video Music Awards

“The messaging is very different from a cessation standpoint,” said Kathy Crosby, director of the Office of Health Communication and Education in the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “How we’re approaching the messaging is by not talking about the final quit, but trying to convince people to try to quit again and change how they perceive the fact that they tried to quit in the past as failures.”

The goal is to provide messages of support and encouragement for smokers trying to quit. The campaign will have ads in convenience stores and gas stations near the cigarettes, online, in print, on radio and TV, and on billboards. Every Try Counts also has a website with tips for how to get through a craving and an option to sign up for encouraging text messages Continue reading FDA campaign reframes quitting for smokers

Older Adults’ Forgetfulness Tied To Faulty Brain Rhythms In Sleep

Older brains may forget more because they lose their rhythm at night.

sleeping senior male for article, Older Adults' Forgetfulness Tied To Faulty Brain Rhythms In Sleep

As people age they may forget more because their brain waves get out of sync, new research finds.

During deep sleep, older people have less coordination between two brain waves that are important to saving new memories, a team reports in the journal Neuron.

“It’s like a drummer that’s perhaps just one beat off the rhythm,” says Matt Walker, one of the paper’s authors and a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “The aging brain just doesn’t seem to be able to synchronize its brain waves effectively.”

The finding appears to answer a long-standing question about how aging can affect memory even in people who do not have Alzheimer’s or some other brain disease.

“This is the first paper that actually found a cellular mechanism that might be affected during aging and therefore be responsible for a lack of memory consolidation during sleep,” says Julie Seibt, a lecturer in sleep and plasticity at the University of Surrey in the U.K. Seibt was not involved in the new study.

To confirm the finding, though, researchers will have to show that it’s possible to cause memory problems in a young brain by disrupting these rhythms, Seibt says.

The study was the result of an effort to understand how the sleeping brain turns short-term memories into memories that can last a lifetime, says Walker, the author of the book Why We Sleep. “What is it about sleep that seems to perform this elegant trick of cementing new facts into the neural architecture of the brain?”

To find out, Walker and a team of scientists had 20 young adults learn 120 pairs of words. “Then we put electrodes on their head and we had them sleep,” he says. Continue reading Older Adults’ Forgetfulness Tied To Faulty Brain Rhythms In Sleep

It’s Official – Put Your Cellphone Down!

About 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 12 percent rely on their smartphones for everyday Internet access, the health department said. In addition, the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10, and a majority of young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep. “Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cellphone use,” Smith said.

Other tips for reducing exposure to radio frequency energy from cellphones: Keeping the phone away from the body, reducing cellphone use when the signal is weak, reducing the use of cellphones to stream audio or video or to download or upload large files, keeping the phone away from the bed at night, removing headsets when not on a call, and avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy because they may actually increase your exposure.

It’s only temporary – smartphone blindness

Smartphone habits may force doctors to ask patients a few more questions when diagnosing vision or neurological problems. “I think if a person experiences a temporary loss of vision in one eye, that’s potentially a very important problem for which they should seek medical attention,” says Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Dean Wingerchuk. “But, it doesn’t always mean there’s an abnormality.”

Mayo Clinic

Healthcare spending growth slowed in 2016

Private health insurance continues to be the largest payer for healthcare goods and services, accounting for just over one-third of total spending.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Healthcare spending grew at a slower rate in 2016 than during the previous two years, according to new analysis released Wednesday by the Office of the Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In 2016, U.S. healthcare spending grew at a rate of 4.3 percent to $3.3 trillion. This compares to spending increases of 5.1 percent in 2014 and 5.8 percent in 2015.

Spending growth in 2016 was more in line with the rate of 4.2 percent from 2008 to 2015.

chart for article, Healthcare spending growth slowed in 2016The slower growth is primarily due to decelerated spending for retail prescription drugs, hospital care, and on physician and clinical services, according to the Office of the Actuary report.ntions]

Spending growth also fell among the three major payers: private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

The last time there was a spending drop of this type was in 2010, when there was a decrease in the three area of goods and services – retail prescription drugs, hospital care, and physician and clinical services, CMS said.

This is the first time in memory CMS has witnessed a slowdown in  goods and services spending, and among the three major payers.

For private health insurance and Medicaid, the slower growth was influenced by decelerated enrollment growth, while Medicare spending slowed because of lower enrollment increases due to defections to Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage now makes up a third of all Medicare enrollment. This means slower growth in fee-for-service Medicare spending as MA is value-based.

CMS said it didn’t have details on how other value-based models such as bundled payments have played a part in slower healthcare spending increases.

Continue reading Healthcare spending growth slowed in 2016

California Wildfire Health Hazards and OSHA Warnings

EH&S News, NES Safety Topic – October 26, 2017
Written by: Brittiny Harris, NES, Inc.

Wildfires Create Smoke Inhalation Hazards

California is dealing with one of the most disastrous fire seasons in its history, and with these fires come serious smoke inhalation hazards.

The loss of life is tragic, and the loss of property is extreme. Beyond these concerns, fires have ravaged many California cities and surrounding areas, spewing huge amounts of smoke into the atmosphere and covering surfaces in a thick layer of toxic ash. Smoke inhalation hazards are a prominent problem that firefighters (and firefighters’ support personnel), cleanup crews, industrial hygienists, private citizens, and all others in the affected regions are dealing with and will continue to encounter as a result of these wildfires.

Many of these smoke inhalation hazards are created not only from the burning trees and grass but from burning houses. As they burn, houses produce highly dangerous gases, chemicals, and fine particles that can cause severe health issues if inhaled. The paint, metal, batteries, and many more products commonly found in and around houses create dangerous fumes causing serious smoke inhalation hazards for employees trying to contain the fire and for residents in the area.

Given the massive scope of the 2017 California wildfires, a tremendous amount of smoke and ash has been released into the atmosphere. It is therefore important to realize that prevailing winds can carry significantly dangerous quantities of smoke tens and even hundreds of miles from its originating source.

OSHA Warns About Smoke Inhalation Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken action to advise employers on how to protect their employees from smoke inhalation hazards and from the painful side effects of the ash toxins. OSHA advocates three different methods to protect people who are close to the fire and dealing with smoke inhalation hazards.

Smoke Hazard Safety Measures

Engineering Controls

OSHA’s first recommendation is to always have engineering controls in place. These include keeping indoor areas smoke free with clean air from ventilation systems. The general population has been advised to adjust air-conditioning units and use car vent systems to recirculate the air in order to avoid allowing outside air into the car.

Administrative Controls

The next line of defense endorsed by OSHA is administrative controls. When smoke inhalation hazards are present, keep employees, children, and the general population around the affected areas indoors. Limit time spent outside whenever possible.

Personal Protective Equipment

OSHA also recommends employees use personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically respirators along with any barriers that can be used between your skin and the hazardous smoke.

OSHA does specify that respirators are only needed if the air is designated to be “unhealthy”, “very unhealthy”, or “hazardous” according to California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 8 §5141 General Industry Safety Orders. N95s disposable respirators through P100s respirators are not required to be fit-tested, but they do come with user instructions and are a valued option for PPE. OSHA urges respirator users to shave facial hair and to avoid wearing a hat over the straps of the mask in order for it to fit correctly. OSHA, however, does recognize that the respirators do not protect against exposure to gases, vapors, oils, pesticides, and other chemicals. It should also be noted that the respirators do not provide oxygen, they only filter out harmful particles; because of this, there is a higher risk of heat illness among those who already have trouble breathing.

OSHA cautions employees who are using a respirator to always be aware of how they are feeling while using the respirator. If the employee is feeling dizzy, faint, lightheaded, nauseous, or disoriented in any way, he or she should remove the respirator, proceed to a safer area, and get medical attention. Employees are advised to use a new respirator every day and dispose of dirty respirators and any respirators that become hard to breathe through.

[SEE FULL STORY HERE]

Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

November 30, 2017 by 

Workplace safety is important during the holiday season.  Stressing this topic can also reduce workers’ compensation program expenses.  This is especially true as employees are decking the workplace halls — you want to avoid falla falls, falla falls, falls, falls falls!

slips, trips and falls graphic for aritcle, Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

The Real Expense of Workplace Safety

Failing to have a safe workplace impacts, everyone.  Employees get injured; overtime costs go up; all employees get stressed.  It also reduces productivity and adds unnecessary costs to the hiring and replacement of talented individuals who cannot return to work.  It adds to healthcare costs in the United States and places an unnecessary burden on emergency rooms.  Now is the time to prevent workplace injuries.

Slip, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks injuries and deaths that occur in the American workplace.  Approximately 15% of all deaths in workers’ compensation settings occur when someone falls in a same level or multi-level incident.  Only motor vehicle accidents account for more workplace deaths.

The economic impact of slip/fall injuries is astronomical.  The National Safety Council estimates these types of injuries cost American industry over $13 billion per year.  This averages out to be about $40,000 per incident.  The consequence of poor training and safety compliance continues to grow.  Interested and proactive claims management teams can make a difference and reverse this troubling trend.  It also starts with educating insured on fall avoidance and other safety issues.

Creating a Culture of Safety

OSHA does require training for all employees subject to slip/fall dangers.  Those interested in making a difference in their workplace need to go beyond the minimum requirements

Prevent same level slip and fall injuries:

  • Keep work areas free of clutter, dust and other debris;
  • Require employees to wear low-heeled shoes with no-slip surfaces;
  • Ensure that rugs and mats have skid-proof backing;
  • Avoid having non-tracked flooring installed in workspaces;
  • Discourage horseplay in the workplace. This can include specifically prohibiting conduct that can result in slips, falls or other related injuries;
  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors; and
  • Use correct lighting in stairwells and hallways.

Employees working at heights such as catwalks, ladders, and scaffolding are in extreme danger for severe injury from falls.  Important measures to implement in the workplace should include:

  • Development and implementation of a fall protection program. This includes training and ongoing evaluation of safety measures for employees and management to use daily;
  • Avoid unprotected side and openings. When these settings are unavoidable, use of a guardrail, safety net or fall arrest systems are paramount;
  • Provide instruction on the safe posting and use of ladders;
  • Purchase and require the use of OSHA compliant ladders when engaging in workplace activities; and
  • Inspection of ladders and scaffolding before and after all use.

While this list is not all-inclusive, there needs to be a proactive approach to employee safety when working at heights.  It is also important to engage management on these issues and foster a culture of compliance with safety procedures and injury avoidance.

Conclusions

The holiday season should be a time of joy and gratitude—not emergency room visits.  While slip/fall injuries will never be eliminated, they can be avoided.  Taking a proactive approach reduces workers’ compensation costs and allows people to focus on the holiday season.

Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com Stop the Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls! http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2017/11/stop-the-workplace-falls-while-decking-the-halls/#ixzz50QdWkZ1s
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