Carbon Monoxide Does NOT Discriminate

Don’t Be the Next Statistic. Experts at the state’s poison control center are all too familiar with the dangerous, even deadly health effects of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The center is often involved in the medical management of patients exposed to carbon monoxide.

 Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas overlooked by many because it gives no warning – you can’t see, smell, hear, or taste it. The effects of CO are hard to detect, and symptoms often mimic those of viral illnesses like the common cold and the flu. Additionally, the gas is undetectable without a working carbon monoxide detector. This combination creates the perfect storm for a dangerous, even deadly public health risk.

Last month, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J) visited the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School to discuss the significant health risks posed by carbon monoxide exposure. While visiting the poison center, he announced bipartisan legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all federally subsidized residences. It is important to remember that CO poisoning poses a risk to all people and pets, including those living in public or rural housing.

Although the only way to detect a leak is with a CO detector, it is important to know how to recognize the effects associated with CO poisoning, and to seek help immediately upon the onset of symptoms. Common symptoms of low-level poisoning include headaches, sleepiness, fatigue, confusion and irritability. At higher levels, poisoning can result in nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, impaired vision and coordination, brain damage and death.

“Don’t be fooled. As we see every year, this poisonous gas can and does kill,” says Diane Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious and should be handled as a medical emergency. Prevention and early detection are crucial in preventing poisoning injury and even death from carbon monoxide. You want to catch a leak in gas appliances and heating systems before it turns into a serious problem.”

Although cold weather brings increased risk, carbon monoxide exposures happen throughout the year, resulting from sources other than gas appliances and heating systems. Lesser known sources of exposure include portable gas generators used during severe weather; snow accumulation in car exhausts/tailpipes, heating and dryer vents; portable room heaters; fireplace/chimney flues; blocked engine and exhaust systems on boats; and smoking hookah in small and/or poorly ventilated spaces.

“Do not gamble with your family’s health and well-being; CO detectors are a must even on boats,” says Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Managing Director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center. Battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors should be put on every level of the home and near every sleeping area. Always check the batteries of both detectors (fire and CO) when changing the clocks twice a year for daylight savings time.

If you suspect a carbon monoxide exposure, take immediate action:  

  1. If someone is unconscious or unresponsive, get him or her out of the house and call 9-1-1 immediately.
  2. Exit the house/building immediately. Do not waste time opening windows. This will delay your escape and cause you to breathe in even more dangerous fumes.
  3. Contact your local fire department/energy provider.
  4. Call the NJ Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate medical treatment advice. Do not waste time looking for information on the internet about carbon monoxide poisoning. Call us for fast, free and accurate information.

 

If you suspect illness, do not wait until symptoms occur or waste time looking up information on the Internet. Contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 to get the immediate help you or a loved one needs. Center experts are health professionals available 24/7 for emergencies, questions, concerns, or information. Services are free, confidential, and a language line is available (over 150 languages). New Jersey residents can reach their center in the following ways: call (1-800-222-1222), text, or chat.

If someone is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up, or seizing, call 9-1-1 immediately.

 Help is Just a Phone Call Away!

 Stay Connected: Facebook (@NJPIES) and Twitter (@NJPoisonCenter) for breaking news, safety tips, trivia questions, etc.

Real People. Real Answers.

 Available for Media Interviews

Diane P. Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director, New Jersey Poison Control Center, Rutgers NJ Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine

Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Managing Director, New Jersey Poison Control Center, Rutgers NJ Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine

Lewis S. Nelson, MD, Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers NJ Medical School

 About New Jersey Poison Control Center / NJPIES
Chartered in 1983, the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System (NJPIES) is New Jersey’s only poison control center. Medical professionals such as physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists offer free consultation through hotline services (telephone, text and chat) regarding poison emergencies and provide information on poison prevention, drugs, food poisoning, animal bites and more. In addition, it tracks incidences of adverse reactions to food, drugs and vaccines to monitor for potential public health issues and provide data to the New Jersey Department of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NJPIES’ confidential services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. When needed, NJPIES responds to other emergent health issues by expanding hotline services.

NJPIES is designated as the state’s regional poison control center by the New Jersey Department of Health and the American Association of Poison Control Centers. It is a division of the Department of Emergency Medicine of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. NJPIES has a state-of-the-art center located at Rutgers Health Sciences in Newark. NJPIES is funded, in part, by the NJ Department of Health, NJ Hospitals and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

New Jersey residents should save the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, in their mobile phones and post the number somewhere visible in their home. NJPIES is also available via text 8002221222@njpies.org and chat www.njpies.org.

Stay Connected: FB / Twitter / Website

 About Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state.  Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 20 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: njms.rutgers.edu.

Know! To Put Kindness into Action

While there appears to be a designated “day” on the calendar for everything these days, World Kindness Day is one to celebrate and share with the young people in our lives. It takes place annually on November 13th, and promotes putting kindness into action through caring and compassionate acts. In a world where far too many youth face bullying, deal with anxiety and depression, and fight the pressures to succumb to a variety of risk-taking behaviors, why not encourage kindness and compassion? The benefits can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

Richard Davidson and his team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that humans are biologically hardwired for kindness and selflessness. He says that even very young children show a preference toward being cooperative, giving and warm-hearted in their interactions with others. Dr. Davidson also believes that kindness can and should be nurtured in youth, and is absolutely teachable. He says, “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”

While the motivation behind acts of kindness should simply be about doing something nice for a fellow human being, with nothing in it for ourselves, it cannot be helped that the giver receives a host of benefits in return. In addition to improving one’s relationships and connections with others, KINDNESS…

Kindness Increases

  • Oxytocin and Serotonin – powerful hormones that stabilize mood, and provide feelings of well-being.
  • Energy – some people report a spike in energy after doing good for others.
  • Pleasure – kindness toward others lights up the brain’s pleasure and reward centers.
  • Happiness – in a survey that spanned 136 countries, those who reported being charitable givers also reported being the happiest overall.

Kindness Decreases

  • Pain – produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers.
  • Stress – reduces the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
  • Anxiety and depression – kindness elevates mood, wards off social avoidance.
  • Blood pressure – as oxytocin is produced, nitric oxide is released, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Ways to Be Kind

Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, cannot be measured by cost or skill, and can be done at any age. Since this tip focuses on tweens and teens however, here are some ideas geared toward their age group. Of course youth are more likely to become more engaged if they come up with their own ways to put kindness into action. But here are a few ideas to help them get started.

  1. Go through your closet and donate some clothing items.
  2. Send a positive text to someone.
  3. Rake a neighbor’s leaves or shovel someone’s sidewalk or drive (depending on where you live).
  4. Give someone a compliment.
  5. Give your mom, dad or other caregiver a random hug.
  6. Thank a veteran.
  7. Smile more often at others.
  8. Say hello to someone new.
  9. Offer to babysit for free one evening.
  10. Send someone a hand-written thank you note.
  11. Hold the door for someone.
  12. Do a chore around the house without being asked.
  13. Forgive someone.
  14. Bake cookies for a neighbor.
  15. Ask about someone’s day.
  16. Call your grandparents.
  17. Put a happy face sticky note on someone’s locker.
  18. Volunteer at any kind of shelter.
  19. Smile and say “good morning” to an adult in your school building.
  20. Invite someone sitting alone to sit with you at lunch.

These are so many simple ways to be kind. Challenge your child to rattle off or jot down some ideas of their own. Of course parents walking the walk is the greatest way to nurture and teach children the importance of doing good for others.

Also keep in mind that you play an important role if you or your child happen to be on the receiving end of a good deed. Kindness goes full circle when someone accepts that offer of help, smiles back or acknowledges another’s kind gesture.

Let World Kindness Day be the kickoff to purposeful acts of kindness among your family that in turn may grow and spread worldwide.

Sources

Health Walks in November

HealthHike Walking Program: Wednesday, November 6: AMC Theatres in Bridgewater Commons Mall: 6:30 am –  9:00 am

Nature Walk: Saturday, November 9: Duke Farms: 9:00 am

Ranger Walk: Saturday, November 16: Skillman Park: 9:00 am

HealthPro Hike: Saturday, November 23: Food Court of Bridgewater Commons Mall: 9:00 am 


Did You Know?

  • Pregnant women who get vaccines for flu and whooping cough (Tdap) pass on disease-fighting antibodies to their babies, protecting them for several months after birth.
  • Even though flu and Tdap vaccines are safe to receive during pregnancy, about 2 in 3 moms-to-be do not receive both.
  • A healthcare provider’s strong recommendation and offer of flu and Tdap vaccines is one of the strongest motivators for pregnant women to get vaccinated—according to the latest Vital Signs.

Health Alert: Prevent Getting Sick After Visiting Animal Exhibits

From the NJ Poison Control Center (Newark, NJ) – Fall weekends are perfect for visiting festivals, agricultural/state fairs and farms with the family. From picking pumpkins and apples, to face painting and corn mazes, there is always something fun to do in New Jersey. Two very popular attractions, especially with young children, are petting zoos and animal exhibits. Unfortunately, what many visitors do not know is that even healthy animals can sometimes carry germs, which can lead to people getting sick after their visit. Interacting with animals at these types of events have been associated with outbreaks of E. coli infection.  It is important for visitors to be aware of the possible risk of infection when in contact with exhibit animals.

The simplest way to prevent illness is to wash hands frequently during your visit. Since germs spread easily, be sure to wash hands immediately after petting animals, touching the animal enclosures and/or exiting the animal areas. Wash hands even if you did not come into direct contact with any of the animals. Avoid eating, drinking and touching your eyes and mouth until you have washed your hands thoroughly. If running water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizers until you can get to a sink to wash properly.

Keep food and drinks out of animal enclosures; germs can spread to food and cause sickness. Remember not to eat or drink products sold as raw (unpasteurized); this includes apple cider, milk, cheese and juice. When buying food from a vendor, be sure it is cooked thoroughly before eating. Food poisoning is a common health risk at public events.

“Although interacting with live farm animals is a learning experience for people of all ages, we must remember animals carry germs that can make us very sick; especially, young children, adults over 65 years of age, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women” says Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “Wash hands often and keep all belongings outside of animal areas, including strollers, bottles/cups, toys, and pacifiers to prevent contamination.”

If you suspect illness, do not wait until symptoms occur or waste time looking up information on the Internet. Contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 to get the immediate help you or a loved one needs. Center experts are health professionals available 24/7 for emergencies, questions/ concerns, or information. Services are free, confidential, and a language line is available (over 150 languages). New Jersey residents can reach their center in the following ways: call (1-800-222-1222), text, or chat.

If someone is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up, or seizing, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away!                                                    

Stay Connected: Facebook (@NJPIES) and Twitter (@NJPoisonCenter) for breaking news, safety tips, trivia questions, etc.

Real People. Real Answers.

Available for Media Interviews

Diane P. Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director, New Jersey Poison Control Center, Rutgers NJ Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine

Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Managing Director, New Jersey Poison Control Center, Rutgers NJ Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine

Lewis S. Nelson, MD, Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers NJ Medical School

 

About New Jersey Poison Control Center / NJPIES
Chartered in 1983, the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System (NJPIES) is New Jersey’s only poison control center. Medical professionals such as physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists offer free consultation through hotline services (telephone, text and chat) regarding poison emergencies and provide information on poison prevention, drugs, food poisoning, animal bites and more. In addition, it tracks incidences of adverse reactions to food, drugs and vaccines to monitor for potential public health issues and provide data to the New Jersey Department of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NJPIES’ confidential services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. When needed, NJPIES responds to other emergent health issues by expanding hotline services.

NJPIES is designated as the state’s regional poison control center by the New Jersey Department of Health and the American Association of Poison Control Centers. It is a division of the Department of Emergency Medicine of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. NJPIES has a state-of-the-art center located at Rutgers Health Sciences in Newark. NJPIES is funded, in part, by the NJ Department of Health, NJ Hospitals and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

New Jersey residents should save the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, in their mobile phones and post the number somewhere visible in their home. NJPIES is also available via text 8002221222@njpies.org and chat www.njpies.org.

Stay Connected: FB / Twitter / Website

About Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state.  Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 20 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: njms.rutgers.edu.

Plan for Personal Health Preparedness for you and your Family

September is National Preparedness Month. This year, the theme is Personal Health Preparedness.

So what is Personal Health Preparedness? Personal health preparedness is about having the wherewithal to care for and protect your health and wellness in the immediate aftermath of an emergency or disaster. That means having the supplies, skill, and self-confidence to bounce back from a difficult or life-changing event like a natural disaster.

Large-scale events, like hurricanes, can cause widespread destruction and long-lasting power outages, disrupt supply chains, and strain public health and health care systems.

When access to resources and the availability of services is limited, it is important to have an emergency supplies kit that includes items from the following categories:

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training

Learn how to protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your community during a disaster by attending a FREE Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course. The deadline to register is Tuesday, October 1. The class is limited to 25 students.

Register and receive certification for this free, seven-session CERT course to be held Oct. 7, 10, 15, 16, 21, and 23 from 7 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, 402 Roycefield Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844.

The CERT program educates and trains residents types of emergencies that can occur in our area and teach residents how to respond appropriately. With severe fluctuations in weather and other disasters that have occurred recently across the U.S., it’s vital that residents stay informed and prepared.

The course will discuss the different types of emergencies that can occur in our area and teach residents how to respond appropriately. With the severe fluctuations in weather and other disasters that have occurred recently across the U.S., it’s vital that residents stay informed and prepared.

The course is free to anyone 18 years of age and above who resides in Somerset County. Students must complete all modules in order to receive a certificate.

The application form and Hold Harmless Agreement can be found at http://bit.ly/2019CERTCourse.

To register by mail or fax, complete both the application form and the Hold Harmless Agreement and mail them to the Somerset County OEM, Attention: CERT, P.O. Box 3000, Somerville, NJ 08876, or fax them to 908-725-5077.

To register by email, write “CERT” in the subject line, attach the completed forms and send them to Carolyn Solon at Solon@co.somerset.nj.us. You will receive confirmation of registration.