Illnesses such as the viruses influenza, tuberculosis, measles, chicken pox or SARS become air borne through a cough or sneeze, evaporate in the air, become aerosolized and can remain in the air for hours.  When the wind blows or wind comes into a building though a door opening the aerosolized infectious pathogen can travel great distances.  Illness occurs when the pathogen enters the mucus membranes either by touch, inhalation or ingestion.

Aerosolized pathogens can be transmitted through a cough or sneeze and remain in the air for hours. If inhaled they can travel deep into the lungs.  Droplets that have landed on surfaces that are transmitted to the eyes or mucus membranes can cause infections.

Varicella Zoster Virus, Herpes 3 is better known as Chicken Pox.  Herpes 3 infects the skin and nerve endings.  It is spread through salvia, coughing, sneezing or direct skin to skin contact with the infection.  After the initial illness Chicken Pox can remain dormant for years.  When Chicken pox is reactivated it is called Shingles.  The pain associated with Shingles is severe.  Postherpetic neuralgia is nerve pain from the damage done to the nerve endings caused by the Varicella Zoster virus.  The pain can last many months to years.  There are reported cases of chicken pox being spread to a previously uninfected person by an adult suffering from Shingles.

The Rhinovirus can remain active on hands for an hour.  That means twenty minutes after sneezing into their hands they can transmit the virus to you by shaking your hand.  The Respiratory Syncytial virus can survive on keyboards and door handles for six hours.  The Influenza virus can survive for twenty four hours on keyboards.  Lower temperatures increases the survival rate of influenza in the air.  The Staphylococcus bacteria is also spread through salvia and mucus and can survive in the environment for five to eleven days.

The air droplets of the cough of someone infected with Tuberculosis survives for hours in the air and a month in dusty surfaces.  When TB lands on a surface and dries it could still infect many weeks later if it became airborne through dusting or sweeping, if inhaled.  The cough or sneeze of someone infected with Measles can live for two hours in the air.  Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome can last for days in the environment.

Walking into a cough and inhaling it gives you a pretty good chance of getting sick, but it does not mean that you will get sick.  If you have a healthy immune system you can fight off infections.  There are ways of preventing getting sick at the office.  Air borne infections happen in poorly ventilated areas.  Being in close proximity or within three feet from a coughing person increases your chance of inhaling their cough.

You can beat the cold and flu by keeping yourself and your environment clean.  Boost your immune system with over the counter immune boosters and extra vitamin C.  Keep your work space clean.  Bring your own antiseptic wipes to work and use them repeatedly on shared work surfaces.  Use antiseptic hand sanitizer however wash your hands frequently, especially if you greet the public.  If you don’t mind the fragrance, tea tree oil and lavender oil are anti viral and anti bacterial.  Filling a small spray bottle with one third tea tree oil, one third lavender oil and one third water and spraying the air will kill virus and bacteria in the air.  If that is not possible, there are antiseptic sprays available.

The break room is often a spot that no one cleans up.  Eating in the break room should include sanitizing the area first as it is impossible to know what germs could be lingering in the environment.  Even if you eat lunch at your desk you should clean the area first. If is important to stay hydrated however keep your water bottle covered.  With just a few precautions to protect yourself, you can stay healthy during the cold and flu season.  It is important to note that if you are sick you could break the chain of infection by staying home until you recover.


CPR For Your Pet

When I sat down my mixed breed rescued from the animal shelter dog laid down beside me. He gave me a happy bouncing dance when I came home and walked with me in every step of my coming home routine. I looked down at him and thought about how much I love him. The twelve years
we have had him have gone by quickly. He is always such a joy. Although he enjoys good health, he is now a senior. The day we say goodbye is closer than before and I fear it.
As an American HeartAssociation CPR instructor, I am often asked about pet cpr. I have never done pet cpr, I do not teach it or certify it. In order to prevent my own,“what if” or “if I had only” ghosts, I decided to find out about pet cpr on the internet. Unfortunately each site I visited gave different information. Some gave a compression rate equal to human cpr, others gave rates according to weight. Some had the dog on their back and others on their side. One organization recommends holding smaller dogs and cats between both hands and compressing.
Because of the differing information I decided to call on my expert, our veterinarian, Dr Kevin Cronin from Charlotte Animal Hospital. According to Dr Cronin, first look for breathing. Rescue breaths for your pet is done mouth to snout. Do not assume the dog has no pulse simply because they are not breathing. Next check for the pulse on the inside of the leg. I got down on my hands and knees to see if I could find the pulse. Burger thought it was either belly rub or playtime, which he thought was great! He did not however appreciate me poking around on his leg. I did find the pulse on the upper inside of his leg near the groin area.
Dr Cronin said to lay the dog on the side and
compress the ribs where the elbow meets the rib cage. According to Dr Cronin, five to ten minutes of cpr is the limit for trying cpr. Dr Cronin sent me a Red Cross pet cpr brochure and referred me to Dee Roberts.
Dee Roberts teaches and certifies pet cpr/first aid along with her duties as the Director of Pet Passings and Companion Burial Services. Dee teaches that smaller
dogs and cats should be on their side and placed on a table. According to Dee when you recognize that your pet is not moving check for breathing. If there is no breath, open the mouth and look for a foreign object. Do not put your fingers in the pet’s mouth unless you can see and get the foreign object. If there is something obstructing the airway, place them with their back against you and compress below the rib cage. If they become unconscious, check for a pulse. If there is no pulse, begin cpr and take them to the veterinarian. Doing cpr on the way to the vet while someone else drives could help save the life of your pet.
Animals can suffer heat stroke. Dee says that if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot on the pavement it is too hot for your horse or the pads of your dogs feet. Horses do get sunburn. Just like us, our pets need protection from the sun and heat. If your horse becomes unresponsive, check for breathing and a pulse. If they need cpr, with the horse on their side and compress over the rib cage.
Cpr on a bird is done with two fingers over the rib cage. The rescue breaths are done with your mouth almost covering the eyes and all around the beak with the breaths similar to blowing out a candle.
In Dee’s first aid class she teaches what to keep in your pet’s first aid kit. In her cpr class she teaches how to make rescue masks for your pet out of soda and water bottles, giving you one less step should you need to give cpr. For more information on Dee’s classes, you can email her at

Pool Safety

Earlier this year the Gilbert Arizona Fire Department said that CPR saved a 6 yr old. The child was in a community pool at the Coronado Apartments on March 14, 2015. His cousin pulled him from the water and a bystander gave CPR. The child regained consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital.

The refreshing waters of the pool can turn into a nightmare if safety rules are not in place. There should always be someone on the look out. The unexpected happens more frequently than we realize.

Pool side beverages should be in plastic not glass containers. It is difficult to see and clean up broken glass in water.

Belly flops are fun, however, bumped heads are not. A misguided dive into the pool could land you on top of another swimmer injuring both of you. Jumping in to shallow water can cause serious head and spinal injuries.

Toddlers often find their way to the pool when no one is looking. You only have a few minutes to find them before there is a tragedy. Safety fences are a must when toddlers are on the premises. Even if you have given your toddler swimming lessons never assume it is ok to leave the pool are open.

If someone hits their head and is unconscious they could drown in two inches of water.

Drowning is quick and silent. It can happen within three minutes. Drowning victims often appear to be floating. When a drowning victim is deprived of oxygen hypoxia occurs. Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen and can cause a cardiac arrest. A cardia arrest stops the heart. With no blood and oxygen flowing brain death will occur within four to six minutes. CPR with rescue breaths saves lives.

Swimmers who have inhaled water often experience what is called “2nd drowning” This occurs when inhaled water in the lungs causes edema or swelling. When the lungs alveoli are filled with water they not exchange oxygen. This causes the heart to slow and blood oxygen levels drops. Inhaling pool water can also cause chemical pneumonitis. Secondary oxygen and antibiotics ensure a full recovery.

October of last year 11yr old Sklyar Berry went to a friend’s pool birthday party in California, One of the 6th graders party guests went under the water but did not come back up. When he was pulled out of the pool Skylar checked for a pulse. Not finding one, she began CPR. The young boy survived. Skylar learned CPR at Fire Camp. Now she is on a mission to teach CPR to her classmates.

Drowning accidents happen without warning. Learning CPR and keeping up with the new changes is the best way to ensure an accident is just a close call!

What not to wear to a CPR class

CPR classes are often a requirement for work.  Sometimes these classes are scheduled on your day off.  While a cpr class on your day can be an inconvenience it is worth it to plan your day.  For instance, don’t give blood or get a blood test before your class.  Your Cpr class will include doing compressions.   Compressions are not recommended after blood draws.  It would be ok to have blood work done after class.  Another thing to consider is lipstick.  Lipstick will make the instructor frown.  While lipstick may be very attractive on you is not attractive on the mask or manikin.  Lipstick on the manikins is frowned upon.  Can you imagine how you would react to the stain of a previous student’s lipstick on the manikin you are about to learn how to give rescue breaths on?  Gross?  And you don’t know where that other student’s mouth has been and there is a remnant of them left behind!  Low cut shirts and sun dresses can lead to potential embarrassment.  Imagine kneeling next to your manikin ready to start compressions and having yourself fall out of your shirt or sundress!  Think of the young gentlemen in your class.  Such distraction does not help learn life saving skills.  It would be embarrassing for you and your classmates.    Short shorts, dresses and skirts, oh my!  You will be getting down on the floor and up off the floor.  I tell you truthfully!  No one wants to see that.  That is not your best angle or end!  Not picture perfect.  Those in favor of loose fitting pants, please remember they fall down. Think about all the times you have pulled them up. This time wear fitting pants.  No one wants that view either.  These are things to consider especially if you are taking this class with your coworkers. You don’t want your coworkers to smirk every time they see you after class.  To review, things not to wear to a CPR class are: lipstick, sundresses, low cut shirts, short shorts, skirts, and loose low riders.  Dress according to the activity.  You will be on the floor.  Wear comfortable clothing for getting up and down.  A little bit of planning goes a long way.