Protect Your Family

Protect not only your kids but also elderly adults (especially those with physical or cognitive issues) from a fire:



Put them on all floors, including inside every bedroom and near all sleeping areas.

Caregiver Tip: Interconnect all your smoke alarms. Typically, when one sounds, they all will -- giving you extra time to assist children or elderly adults.



Practice an evacuation today with all family members.

Caregiver Tip: People with physical or cognitive disabilities should be included in drills; make a specific plan to assist those with limitations. Go to (National Fire Protection Association) and (Alzheimer's Association) for more safety strategies for the elderly.



Install safety knobs and activate the lock-out setting on the stove (if it has one) to keep kids and confused or forgetful adults from leaving burners on.

Caregiver Tip: Also secure all flammable liquids in a locked container in a cool, dry place -- far from heat and combustible materials.



Place them on windows and doors to notify firefighters of family members who may need more help to get out.

Caregiver Tip: Go to for stickers that let you specify if you live with kids or older adults who are disabled in some way.

Advance Directives and Long-Term Care

Avoid confusion by making your wishes known now:


You can tell your family, friends, and healthcare professionals what kind of health care you would want or who you want to make decisions for you if you're too ill to speak for yourself with legal documents called advance directives.


Types of advance directives:


A health care proxy (durable power of attorney) is a document that names someone you trust to make health decisions if you can't.


A living will tells which treatment you want if your life is threatened, including:


- Dialysis and breathing machines


- Resuscitation if you stop breathing or if your heart stops


- Tube feeding


- Organ or tissue donation after you die


How to get advance directives:


Get an advance directive from your healthcare provider, attorney, local Area Agency on Aging, or state health department.


What to do with your advance directives:


1. Keep the original copies of your advance directives where you can easily find them.


2. Give a copy to your healthcare proxy, healthcare providers, hospital, nursing home, family, and friends.


3. Carry a card in your wallet that says you have an advance directive.


4. Review your advance directives each year.


Plan for long-term care:


Visit for information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care needs.


First Aid For Poisoning

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year across the country. The Red Cross urges people to follow these steps to help prevent, treat and respond to poisoning.


1. If you suspect a poisoning emergency, call the National Poison Control Center toll-free at (800) 222-1222. Post this and other emergency phone numbers by all of your telephones.


2. Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight.


3. Be careful when handling substances, chemicals and cleaners that could be harmful. Only use them in well-ventilated areas and wear protective clothing, such as gloves and a face mask.


4. Use common sense with your own medications.


5. Keep medications in the containers they came in. Make sure they are kept out of children's reach.


6. Read the product information carefully. Use only as directed.


7. Be aware of the possible side effects and any possible interactions with other medications you are taking. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions.


8. Never use another person's prescribed medications or medications that have expired.


Poisons can be swallowed, inhaled, absorbed or injected. If you suspect a poisoning:


1. Check the scene and the person. Try to find out what poison was taken. Look for any containers and take them with you to the phone.


2. Call the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 and follow their instructions.


3. Care for any life threatening conditions found. DO NOT give the person anything to eat or drink unless directed to do so by the National Poison Control Center or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel.


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:


1. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in the hallways near sleeping areas, avoiding corners where air does not circulate, and follow the manufacture's instructions to test the alarm every month.


2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 9-1-1.



Disaster Preparedness

It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.


The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:


1. Meet with your family or household members


2. Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play


3. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team


4. If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed


Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency:


1. Choose two places to meet:

Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire or outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate


2. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones


Plan what to do if you have to evacuate:


1. Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary


2. Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable


3. Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes


Let your family know you're safe:


If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.



Also called: human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome


HIV causes AIDS and interferes with the body's ability to fight infections.



More than 200,000 U.S. cases per year:


Spreads by sexual contact


Can't be cured, but treatment may help


Chronic; can last for years or be lifelong


Requires a medical diagnosis


Lab tests or imaging always required


The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.


Within a few weeks of HIV infection, flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue can occur. Then the disease is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS. AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue and recurrent infections.


No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to anti-retroviral regimens (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease's progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications.


Ages affected:




How it spreads:


1. By blood products (unclean needles or unscreened blood).


2. By mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing.


3. By having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.


People may experience:


-Pain areas: in the abdomen


-Pain circumstances: can occur while swallowing


-Cough: can be dry


-Whole body: fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, malaise, night sweats, or sweating


-Gastrointestinal: nausea, persistent diarrhea, vomiting, or watery diarrhea


-Mouth: ulcers or white tongue


-Groin: sores or swelling


-Throat: difficulty swallowing or soreness


-Also common: opportunistic infection, headache, oral thrush, pneumonia, red blotches, sever unintentional weight loss, skin rash, or swollen lymph nodes




1. HIV antiviral -- suppresses HIV to slow progression of infection and reduces the risk of infecting others.


2. Enzyme replacement therapy -- replaces an enzyme that's absent or insufficient.




1. Infectious disease doctor;

Treats infections, including those that are tropical in nature


2.Clinical psychologist;

Treats mental disorders primarily with talk therapy


3. Primary care provider (PCP);

Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases


Support groups:




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