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Back-to-School Safety: College Vaccinations

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Back to School Shots

The following is provided for informational purposes only. Allied Universal is not a medical expert. Consult your healthcare provider before pursuing any vaccines or taking any medication.

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are turning, football has begun, the weather is cooling off, and it’s time to fill backpacks with school necessities—pens and pencils, notebooks and laptops. But when you check that all important “to-do list” this year for your student, make sure to include the most important item on the list—inoculationsVaccines Back to School

 

School presents a new world of opportunity–as well as risk. And never are those perils more acute than when your young adult heads to college. Communal living spaces, less-than-sanitary conditions, shared food and drinks, and irregular sleeping habits can leave students vulnerable to disease. For this reason, most institutions of higher learning in the United States require proof of vaccinations prior to enrollment. That is because prevention is key. William Schaffner M.D., and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), recommends parents check students’ medical records to ensure they are current, paying particular attention to meningitis, hepatitis B and HPV.

Meningitis

Childhood VaccinesInflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord, meningitis is a bacterial infection that is so serious, it can be fatal within days without prompt antibiotic treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, delayed treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage and death. What’s more, it is most oftencommunicated in close quarters, such as dorms or college apartments. This is likely because the bacterium is spread via the respiratory system, moving quickly through large groups of people.The vaccination for meningitis is an entry requirement for almost every college. But even if your student’s school does not require it, be sure to inquire about the inoculation. It could save your child’s life. Medical Insignia School Vaccines

Hepatitis B

A blood-borne infection transmitted through sexual activity, hepatitis B can lead to long-term liver-related consequences, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The hepatitis B vaccine is a three-dose series and is consideredsafe.Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, it is often caused by a virus.

HPV

College Student HealthA disease transmitted through sexual activity is HPV (human papillomavirus). It can cause certain cancers and disease in males and femalesand is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). In fact, about 79 million Americans are currently infected. And about 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some point if they don’t get the HPV vaccine. Unfortunately, because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, most people who contract it aren’t even aware they carry the disease. The CDC recommends parents vaccinate their children for HPV because 31,000 HPV-induced cancers occur each year in the U.S.


About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services SystemCollege Student Safety

Before you pack the trunk with your college student’s clothing, pillows and family photos, make sure you’ve tended to their most important higher education supply – good health! Our interactive, e-learning program helps all types of buildings, including those in the commercial, residential, and higher education space, with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete the course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

Summer Water Safety

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Summer Water SafetyAlthough it’s a great way to exercise and stay cool during the hot summer weather, participating in water sports is not without risk. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 360,000 people drown each year. The good news is that most water-related fatalities and injuries can be prevented when safety steps are taken.

To keep your family and friends safe this summer, observe the following summer water safety tips: (more…)

Autism Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Autism AwarenessA quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awarenessand acceptance and draw attention to the tens of thousands facing diagnosis of the disorder each year. Toward that end, April was declared Autism Awareness Month in 2007. The goal of the annual event (as well as the society), is to encourage acceptance and appreciation for anyone who is diagnosed as autistic.Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a “spectrum” disorder because of the wide variety of type and severity of symptoms patients experience. (more…)

Campus Security After Parkland & Great Mills Shootings

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Active Shooter SafetyUnfortunately, a pattern has recently unfolded across the country. An active shooter opens fire on students during school, such as what occurred last month in Parkland, Fl., where 17 innocent victims lost their lives and –even more recently – in Maryland, where a 17-year-old student shot two others. This type of event spurs widespread panic and concern about campus safety. Students, parents and political pundits demand gun law reform, teacher armament and mental health awareness. Then, almost as immediately as the frenzy begins, conversations about the court of public opinion abound. But the issue remains. How can we keep American elementary, middle-school, high school and college students safe? (more…)

Bullying and Peer Pressure: Be Safe at School

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Part 2 in a 3-Part Series 

As teachers and administrators across the country are welcoming students to a new school year, we want to help make sure your child starts 2017-2018 off right. Follow these simple safety steps, adapted from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), which are important whether your student is just beginning his educational journey or is close to earning a degree. (more…)

Back-to-School Safety

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series

As we close the book on summer 2017, teachers and administrators across the country welcome students to a school year that’s rife with opportunity and promise. To make sure your student starts 2017-2018 off right, follow these simple safety steps, which are important whether your child is just beginning his educational journey or is close to earning a degree. This week, our post focuses on how to keep your child safe on the way to and from school. Check back next week when we provide tips for being safe from bullying and the final post, which will cover how to be safe before, during and after natural and manmade disasters.   (more…)

What’s in the Water?

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Identifying the Danger of Algae and other Contaminants

Kid sick in the hospitalAccording to UNICEF, in 2015, nine percent of every child deaths, worldwide, resulted from illnesses caused by toxic water. Poor water quality contributes directly to life-threatening ailments as common, but potentially, deadly as diarrhea to as rare and dangerous as malaria and schistosomiasis. Thankfully, in most parts of the U.S., the water supply is exceedingly clean — espe

cially when compared to what’s available in developing countries. Nevertheless, United States’ officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the presence of toxic algae in dozens of areas in the Midwest. In Flint Michigan, for example, poor water supply (and mismanagement of the same) has caused serious health problems for residents, as well as massive political fallout.

researcher testing the water qualityAlgae in a Nutshell

  • Present in all bodies of water, algae plays an important role as a building block in the food chain.
  • Functions as a carbon sink, which pulls excess CO2 from the air, reducing the risk of climate change.
  • Blooms are outsized algae growths which often occur due to increased temperatures, as well as fertilizer and wastewater runoff.  The most dangerous kind of algae is cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae. This type is toxic to animals and humans.

How Algae Affects Humans

Algal Blooms

Algal Blooms

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has recently noted an alarming rise in incidences of algal blooms in drinking water reservoirs. They identify golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) as a frequent culprit relative to algal blooms, which include those which have affected Lake Erie in the recent past. Steps taken to mitigate the problem include better monitoring, and, in the case of Lake Erie, an ongoing effort to minimize farm runoff — which has contributed directly to the algal bloom.

Sometimes, large geographical regions can be affected. For example, in 2014, the entire city of Toledo, Ohio, had to stop drinking tap water due to the presence of Cyanobacteria. More than 500,000 residents were impacted, including thousands of business owners who had to think quickly in order to provide alternative drinking sources for staff and visitors. Since Cyanobacteria are not killed by boiling, the only viable solution is to use bottChemical element Arsenic Flatled water during an algae-related water supply crisis.

To combat algal blooms, the water source must be treated. This includes restricting usage of fertilizers and other agricultural runoff sources, adding phosphorous, suction dredging, and wetlands conservation.

Other Common Water Contaminants
Beyond algal blooms, there are myriad other water contaminants that must be properly monitored and treated.

Consider the following:

  • Lead seepage was the main problem relative to the drinking water crisis in Flint. This is typically caused by corroded lead pipes which leech contaminants into the water supply, over time. Lead is exceedingly toxic, especially for children, and causes damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, and compromises brain development.
  • Arsenic is another common contaminant typically found in private wells, as it is found in the earth’s crust. Detrimental health effects include cancers of the bladder, kidney, and skin, as well as blood vessel diseases.
  • The EPA lists dozens of other potential contaminants including cleaning supplies, medications, and various other organic and inorganic substances.

Ensuring the safety and availability of drinking water during a crisis requires diligent monitoring of water quality alerts and preparation of emergency supply kits containing sufficient stores of potable water. So remember to take proper disaster preparation steps and remember that safety is a daily priority. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

5 Summer Water Safety Tips

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Drowning business manAccording to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about 10 people die from unintentionally drowning each day in the United States. In fact, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death for people of all ages, and is the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years in the nation. Globally, the statistics provided by the World Health Organization are scarier yet, with more than 40 people dying by drowning every hour of every day! But the good news is that accidental drownings are preventable as long as you observe a few safety guidelines whenever you are in or around water this summer.

Wherever you choose to vacation this summer, #BeSafe and #SafeForLife:

  1. Steady on your feet. Even if you opt for a “stay-cation” this year, be careful not just in, but around water. This includes areas adjacent to man-made water sources such as the wooden decking around Jacuzzis and spas as well as slick surfaces like freshly watered lawns or pool decks. Slip-and-fall accidents account for a myriad of serious and even life-threatening injuries each year, especially among senior citizens. So instruct children to walk instead of run and help elderly people when they are walking in slippery areas.
  2. Easy does it. Alcohol and water do not mix. If and when you choose to indulge over the summer, do so when you are clear of water-related dangers. The American Boating Association reports that almost half of all boating accidents involve alcohol. So an easy way to reduce your risk of a boating accident is to stay sober whenever you get behind the water wheel. sunset postcard
  3. Start early. Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible. Even babies can learn basic water survival techniques. Be sure to include swimming lessons in your summer routine. And whenever young kids are around a pool, watch them like a hawk and brief babysitters about the necessity of providing constant supervision around water.
  4. Make rescue easy. If you have an above-ground or in-ground pool, live near a dock or have a hot tub, post CPR instructions near the water. Also, learn emergency lifesaving procedures so you can provide aid when necessary, while waiting for first responders. Also, make sure a phone is always on hand whenever anyone is in the water. And stow rescue equipment as close to the water as possible. When it comes to drowning, every second counts.
    First aid
  5. Discourage accidents. Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa. Also, teach your kids to stay away from drains. Tips at Gov point out that children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits could potentially get stuck in a drain or suction opening. Also, make sure that all pools and spas (including those in backyards as well as in public areas) have compliant drain covers. And if your pool is not covered, remove bright colored toys or flotation devices from the surface, since these attract curious kids.Bright beach ball in the water

Be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not just when you are enjoying the water. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

June is National Safety Month

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Safety First and AlwaysOn the heels of celebrating National Building Safety Month in May, we feel it equally essential to note that June marks a more general but no less important annual observance – National Safety Month. Organized by the National Safety Council (NSC) and observed by thousands of organizations across the country, the campaign is designed to raise awareness about what it takes to stay #SafeForLife. National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads, as well as in private homes and communities. Each week in June, the NSC will provide free downloadable resources highlighting a specific safety topic. Many of the items are available in English and Spanish.

Week 1 (Through June 12)

Stand Ready to Respond

Lifetime of Risk InfographWhen seconds count, preparation is key. This is true in both natural and man-made disasters. To prepare, keep a fully stocked emergency preparedness kit in your home and vehicle. Be sure to include supplies such as food, water, necessary medications, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and a first aid kit. And, just as you participate in emergency drills at work, run regular drills with your family.

Resources available through the NSC

Week 2 (June 13 – 19)

Be Healthy

Each day, decisions we make directly impact our health. So do your best to make smart food choices and exercise regularly. When an injury occurs, strive to work with your doctor to safeguard your health by making informed decisions about what types of medications to take. Keep young children safe around medications by properly storing medicines and vitamins away and out of a child’s reach.

Resources available through the NSC

Week 3 (June 20-26)

Watch Out for Dangers

Although, in a recent Allied Universal Training System blog post, we covered the importance of situational awareness, the topic is important enough to bear repeating. Even in familiar surroundings, constantly survey your surroundings for potential danger. Keeping an eye out for hazards can help you identify and avoid them before an injury or attack might occur. Looking at the world through this safety lens can help protect you and loved ones.

National Safety Month Logo 2016Resources available through the NSC

Week 4 (June 27-30)

Share Roads Safely

Vehicles traveling or disabled along our nation’s roadways are constantly at risk. Since it’s impossible to control the choices everyone makes while on the road, practice defensive driving. Getting behind the wheel is a time for patience and focus, qualities that can help you avoid a collision even if someone else makes a bad decision.

Resources available through the NSCNational Safety Council

Be sure to think about ways to use situational awareness to #BeSafe all of the time, not just during the month of June. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Woman preparing for Christmas dinnerCooking a big meal for the holidays is a joyous event, as you can pour your love and expertise into every bite. But to keep loved ones safe, make sure you are careful in the kitchen. Our first tip? Slow down. Despite the frenetic pace modeled on cooking competition shows, it’s always best to pace yourself while cooking. Professional chefs work quickly, but they also watch out for one another and take steps to follow basic safety protocols.

Avoid Food-Borne Illnesses

As disheartening as it is, in terms of bacteria, home kitchens are typically more bacteria-ridden than public restrooms.  But the good news is that if steps are taken to follow sanitary practices, you can guard against hosting a house full of sick holiday guests.Dirty utensil on the kitchen

  • Wash utensils thoroughly. The dishwasher is the best method for washing, as it utilizes too-hot-to-handle water and vigorous rinsing. If you must hand wash items that have come into contact with raw meat or eggs, use gloves, so you can handle hot water without burning yourself. Apply lots of soap and thoroughly wash everything to dispense with soap residue.
  • Prevent cross contamination by using separate cutting boards for meat, veggies and fruit. Several manufacturers offer color-coded cutting boards for just this reason.
  • User paper towels to remove juice from meat and raw eggs. Avoid using cloth towels, which can harbor bacteria.
  • Defrost and marinate foods in the refrigerator instead of on top of the kitchen counter or in the sink.

messyPrevent Kitchen Fires

  • Focus on the task at hand. Do not leave items on the stove and then leave to fold laundry or watch TV. Instead, remain in the kitchen so you can quickly control any flare-ups.
  • Remove clutter. If you are cooking an elaborate meal, clean up as you go to keep your workspace clutter free. Towels or wooden utensils are highly flammable, so keep a “clear zone” around the range top and oven.
  • Thoroughly clean cooking surfaces to prevent high-fat food residue buildup, which can be flammable.
  • Be careful if you are frying foods. Remember that water and hot oil are incompatible. So don’t put frozen foods into hot oil.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen to put out fires before they get out of control. Make sure you are using the right type of extinguisher for the fire you are battling. If you need to use it, remember the acronym PASS – pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.

Additional tips for holiday kitchen safety:

  • Monitor the kids. Keep children out of the kitchen during meal preparation. While you might be able to supervise kids in less hectic times, crowded kitchens and lots of activity can lead to accidents. So save culinary lessons for after the holidays. Also, keeping children away from meal preparation will prevent curious little hands from pulling on pot handles.Overwhelmed and frustrated Mom in the kitchen
  • Clean up spills. A slippery floor is a major hazard in the kitchen, since people often carry sharp knives and boiling water. So immediately wipe spills until surfaces are completely dry.
  • Use knives properly. There is a proper way to chop different types of foods, which can prevent the loss of a fingertip and a trip to the emergency room on Christmas Day. In addition, remember that, as counter intuitive as it sounds, it is safer to use a razor sharp knife than a dull blade.
  • Steam burns. Some foods, such as instant rice and veggies, now come in convenient plastic microwaveable packets. If you decide to use these, make sure to open away from your face.

The holidays are a busy time. Adding several relatives and planning big elaborate meals challenge even the most organized host. So follow these kitchen safety practices to ensure everyone has a happy and safe holiday season.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think safety all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.