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    Point-of-Care Testing Preventing Infections

    July 23rd, 2013

    Patient-to-patient transmission of Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and other nosocomial infections due to contaminated POCT devices has been increasing in the US – just in the hospital setting, some 2 million patients acquire an infection each year with an estimated 20,000 deaths attributed to the infections.

    While there are a number of modes of transmission including inappropriate hand hygiene techniques, glove usage, linen handling and the like, we’re going to focus on the proper, sanitary use of POCT device.

    Most infections occur during assisted monitoring for a specific test meaning the procedure was performed by a healthcare provider rather than self-testing by the patient. an example would be blood glucose testing in an assisted-living facility when a diabetic patient is being helped by a caregiver. particularly in these assisted-living facilities, HBV outbreaks continued to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) forcing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities, Ta G F441.

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    The CMS TAG F441 document specifically requires the cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting of medical devices with an Epa-registered disinfectant detergent or germicide that is labeled for healthcare environments. 4MD Medical offers a number of easy-to-use, Epa-registered disinfectant wipes through our Warehouse to include PDI Super Sani-Cloth and Sani-Cloth plus and metrex Caviwipes1 Wipes.

     

    The practice of not disinfecting a medical device between patient usage potentially exposes them to the spread of blood borne pathogens. POCT devices frequently become contaminated with blood although transmission and infection risks can occur even though blood is not visible. Consideration of storage site disinfection must also be addressed; device contact with a blood-contaminated storage area also may contribute to contamination.

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    Another solution would be to consider a single-use, disposable medical device although not practical with a POCT device; however, the use of a single-use, safety lancet device would be an obvious must. available single-use, safety lancets through 4MD Medical include: pro advantage pressure activated Lancet; Becton Dickinson microtainer Contact-activated Safety Lancet; Arkray assure Haemolance plus Lancets; Owen-mumford Unistik Single-use Safety Lancet and Terumo Capiject Safety Lancets.

    Simple Recommendations to Reduce infections:

    • Use a single-use, safety lancet.
    • Assisted living facilities – for best practices, assign a POCT testing device for each resident (IE: blood glucose monitor)
    • Clean & disinfect the POCT device after each use if single patient assignment is not practical (IE: coagulation monitor)
    • Always practice good hand-hygiene protocols and change gloves between patients

    By Brad Thompson


    Arthritis Thumb Pain Relief With FREEDOM ThumbFit

    June 21st, 2013

    Arthritis Facts – Ease the Effects Of Arthritis In Your Hands

    Thumb arthritis is the most common form of osteoarthritis affecting the hand. Thumb arthritis can cause severe hand pain, swelling, and decreased strength and ability to pinch or grip things, making it difficult to do simple household tasks, such as turning doorknobs and opening jars. A splint or brace which supports the thumb may decrease both wear and tear AND pain, but may restrict hand and finger motion.

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    Now there’s a solution designed to stabilize the thumb joint and provide compression and warmth where it is needed most…without restricting fingers or hand motion. The FREEDOM Thumbfit stabilizer was developed by a team of medical specialists to provide pain relief associated with repetitive motion of the thumb. The contoured thumb stabilizer supports the thumb while still allowing the user full hand movement.

    Get Pain Reducing Thumb Stability Today.

    FREEDOM ThumbFit

     

     

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    • Cushioned, contoured strap supports the thumb to minimize pain while allowing full hand movement
    • Breathable Neoprene material provides compression and retains natural warmth
    • Soft terrycloth lining for all day comfort
    • Easy to apply and adjust

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    Nursing Home Rights and Wrongs

    May 6th, 2013

    “Nursing-home patients are often not given the choice of the medical care they do and don’t get”.

    Recently one of my patients transferred her 83-year-old mother from a hospital to a nursing home for physical therapy and recuperation after an illness. Upon discharge, her mother went to the nursing home by ambulance. My patient followed shortly after by car. Imagine her surprise when she learned that in the brief interval between her mother’s arrival and hers, a visiting dentist had performed an admission dental exam and—without explanation to or consent from the daughter, who held power of attorney for her mother’s health care—extracted a tooth. Her mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, was confused and frightened. My patient was enraged.

    Know your rights

    The rights of nursing-home residents are protected under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act. Passed in 1987, it applies to every nursing home certified to accept Medicare or Medicaid patients. Among the law’s provisions are the right to freedom of choice over medical care, the right to refuse treatment, and the right to advance notice of changes to the resident’s care or treatment plan.

    But some nursing homes disregard the law, and often they get away with it. One reason is that residents or their families might be reluctant to make a formal complaint because they fear the staff will retaliate. Some also worry, wrongly, that refusing an unwanted treatment will lead to eviction. (That is illegal.) As a result, a culture of acquiescence develops, and egregious behavior continues.

    Red flags to watch for

    In addition to unneeded dental work, several other practices may be overused or misused in nursing homes, even though the law restricts their use except for very specific reasons:

    Physical restraints. The use of vests or belts that tie residents to wheelchairs or beds has declined, but some nursing homes still use them, and they can be physically and emotionally harmful. (They might be justified in situations where a patient has the capability to do bodily harm.) It’s illegal for staff to use restraints for convenience, such as to prevent wandering or address behavioral challenges. Electronic monitors, increased staffing, and behavioral interventions to discourage boredom are better options.

    Antipsychotic drugs. These and related drugs are supposed to be used only for patients with diagnosed psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and not for disciplinary reasons such as quelling agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s. In a large 2010 study, almost 30 percent of nursing-home residents had received anantipsychotic drug; of them, almost one-third had no identified indication for use. The drugs don’t help dementia and have been linked to other risks, including less functional improvement, longer nursing-home stays, and a greater chance of dying. A review published in March by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that most older adults with dementia can successfully be taken off antipsychotic drugs.

    Feeding tubes. They deliver nutrition via a tube inserted into the stomach and are sometimes necessary for people who can’t swallow or otherwise eat safely. But nursing homes sometimes use them to save time and labor with residents who eat very slowly or need encouragement to eat. That is never a legitimate reason for inserting a feeding tube, which denies a patient the pleasure of tasting food and can diminish quality of life.

    Residents and their families should be on the lookout for those practices and ready to speak up if they’re used or pushed unnecessarily. My patient ultimately did just that: She filed a complaint about her mother’s hasty and unpermitted dental procedure with the state board. It led to the firing of the dentist and a state investigation of the facility.

    By Consumer Reports Magazine

     


    Medline BioMask Antimicrobial Face Masks

    January 10th, 2013

    CBS news in Chicago recently ran a story on the flu that included a prominent piece on BioMask, Medline’s new, innovative face mask that helps protect patients, caregivers and consumers against the flu.

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    BioMask, with proprietary Ionixx technology, actually inactivates flu viruses – rather than just filtering them out. BioMask is the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral medical face mask that is shown to inactivate 99.99 percent of laboratory-tested flu viruses on five minutes contact, including imminent pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses, such as H1N1, Avian flu, Swine flu and H3N2, this year’s dominant flu strain in the United States.

    BioMask™ inactivates 99.99% of tested influenza viruses on 5 minutescontact with the surface of the facemask. Tested on specific seasonal flu viruses, Pandemic H1N1*, Avian* and Swine* & Equine*, the BioMask™ has a hydrophilic plastic coating that rapidly absorbs aerosol droplets away from the outer surface of the mask.

    • The first and second layers of the mask are treated with different compounds that inactivate influenza viruses.
    • Rapid absorption ensures the influenza A & B viruses are wicked away from the outer surface.
    • In the outer active layer, viruses are inactivated by exposure to a low pH environment.
    • Meets ASTM F2100-07 standard: High Barrier surgical facemask.
    • Available in Preimium Convex-Shaped mask with ear adjustments and anti-fog nose flap, and Universal Standard Flat mask with pleats.

    To order BioMask for your healthcare organization, contact 4MD Medical sales representative or call 877-463-5818

     


    What is Willis-Ekborn Disease?

    October 25th, 2012

    Did you know that up to 10% of the American population suffers from a disease known as the Willis-Ekborn disease? More commonly known as restless legs syndrome, or RLS, this disease presents itself most often in the morning and at night. RLS results in an irresistible urge to move the legs. It’s described as an unpleasant sensation that feels like creeping, tugging or pulling in the leg muscles. RLS is about twice as common in women than in men. Symptoms can arise at any age, but it is generally more serious in middle-age and above..

    “People with this condition feel they just absolutely have to move their legs. Their legs feel uncomfortable or even painful unless they move them,” says Dr. Richard P. Allen, an expert on restless legs syndrome at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “When it’s extreme, patients with this condition can be sitting-in a meeting, in a conversation, watching TV-and they have to keep moving their legs, which could be very disturbing to themselves and to other people.”

    The irony of RLS is that the very act of lying down and trying to relax only stimulates the symptoms and makes them worse. Activity can alleviate the discomfort, so RLS sufferers often keep their legs in motion. This need for movement can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can lead to exhaustion.

    The cause of restless legs syndrome is generally unknown. Resent studies have hinted that there may be a connection between RLS and too little or malfunctioning iron in the brain. “We also know that there’s some problem with the dopamine system, and patients often have a good response to dopamine medicine,” says Allen. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that regulates movement, motivation and other functions. Imaging studies show that people with restless legs syndrome have abnormalities in a movement-related brain region where dopamine is active.

    Once it appears, restless legs syndrome generally doesn’t go away. Symptoms might decrease or disappear for days, weeks or months, but they usually return. The condition can affect one or both legs and even the arms or torso. Studies also show that RLS may be hereditary and a person’s genes likely play a role. Learning more about the underlying genes might lead to improved treatments in the future.

    Although there is currently no cure for restless legs syndrome, medications and lifestyle changes can help minimize symptoms such as cutting back on caffeine, massaging the legs or using a heating pad or ice pack. “In general it helps to stay active, stay in good health and try to keep good sleep habits,” says Allen.


    Medical Info: Seasonal Flu – How to Protect Yourself

    September 13th, 2012

    Seasonal Flu

    Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year.

    • Flu season typically peaks in January or February.
    • Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu.
    • Flu-related complications include pneumonia and dehydration.
    • Illness from seasonal flu usually lasts one to two weeks.

    What is the seasonal flu?

    Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It spreads between people and can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases, the flu can lead to death.

    When is flu season?

    In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.

    How does seasonal flu spread?

    Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

    Who is at risk?

    Some groups are more likely to experience complications from the seasonal flu, including:

    • Seniors (those age 65 and older)
    • Children (especially those younger than 2)
    • People with chronic health conditions

    How can I protect myself from seasonal flu?

    Get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area. The 2012-2013 vaccine is now available. You should also follow our everyday steps to keep yourself healthy.

    What are common complications from the seasonal flu?

    Complications from the flu include:

    • Bacterial pneumonia
    • Ear or sinus infections
    • Dehydration
    • Worsening of chronic health conditions

    Each year approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications.

    How long does the illness last?

    Most people who get the flu feel much better within one or two weeks.

    How long am I contagious?

    Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop and five to seven days after symptoms appear. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be contagious for a longer period.

    How many times can a person become infected with the seasonal flu?

    You are unlikely to get infected with the same exact strain of flu more than once. It is possible to be infected with flu virus more than once in a season, though, because several different strains of flu virus circulate each year. Exposure to a particular strain of flu virus may help protect you against that strain in the future. But it will not protect you from infection with other flu virus strains.

    Is the stomach flu really the flu?

    Many people use “stomach flu” to describe illness with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Many different viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause these symptoms. While the flu can sometimes cause vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea—more commonly in children than adults — these problems are rarely the main symptoms of the flu. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

    Who monitors seasonal flu activity?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks flu activity in the United States year round and produces a weekly report of flu activity from October through mid-May.


    Medical Knowledge: Learning About Bariatrics And Obesity

    September 5th, 2012

    What is Bariatrics?

    Bariatrics is the study and treatment of obesity and those diseases associated with obesity. Diet, exercise,
    behavior modification, lifestyle changes, institutional and home medical equipment, medications and, in some
    cases, surgery are the tools used by bariatric physicians to help patients manage obesity.

    What is Obesity?

    Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass.
    The amount of body fat (or adiposity) includes concern for both the distribution of fat throughout
    the body and the size of the adipose tissue deposits. Body fat distribution can be estimated by skin fold
    measures, waist-to-hip circumference ratios, or techniques such as ultrasound computed tomography,
    or magnetic resonance imaging.

    What is BMI?

    Body Mass Index or BMI is a tool for indicating weight status in adults, representing weight levels
    associated with the lowest overall risk to health. It is a measure of weight for height. For adults over
    20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories:

    BMI
    Below 18.5                    Underweight
    18.5 – 24.9                    Normal
    25.0 – 29.9                   Overweight
    30.0 – and up              Obese

    How Does BMI Relate To Health?

    The BMI ranges are based on the effect body weight has on disease and death. As BMI increases,
    the risk for some disease increases. Some common conditions related to overweight and obesity include:

    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Premature Death
    • Some Cancers
    • Diabetes

    Read the rest of this entry »


    West Nile Outbreak on Track to Be Worst Ever

    August 23rd, 2012

     47 Deaths, Texas Especially Hard Hit

    West Nile virus now has killed 47 people and infected an estimated 95,000 in 38 states in what is almost certain to be the worst West Nile outbreak since the virus hit the U.S. in 1999.

    “The number of West Nile disease cases in people has risen dramatically. We are in the midst of one of the largest West Nile outbreaks ever seen,” Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s division of vector-borne diseases, said today in a news teleconference.

    It’s far from over. Right now, the U.S. is in the middle of mosquito season — and nearly all West Nile virus infections come from mosquito bites. Case counts usually rise through September.

    “The number of cases is trending upward in most areas,” Petersen said, noting that 47 states have detected West Nile virus circulating in mosquitoes, birds, or people. Only Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont have not yet detected the virus.

    Half the cases and more than half of the deaths have been in Texas. David L. Lakey, MD, Texas state health commissioner, characterized the situation as a “disaster.”

    “It is not just about the numbers. This disease impacts the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people, and their lives will be changed by this outbreak. Our hearts go out to them,” Lakey said.

    Since 2003, when West Nile virus spread across the nation, most West Nile seasons have been relatively mild. Why is this year suddenly so bad?

    “We really don’t know,” Petersen said. “Many major outbreaks in Europe and Africa and now in the U.S. have appeared during abnormally hot weather. Hot weather, in lab tests, does increase transmissibility of the virus from mosquitoes, and that may be one factor.”

    The CDC also is investigating whether the virus might have mutated into a more dangerous form.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    Medical News: FDA Approves First Rapid At Home HIV Test

    August 7th, 2012

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first over-the-counter HIV test, allowing Americans to test themselves for the virus that causes AIDS in the privacy of their homes.

    The OraQuick test detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab. The test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.

    Government officials estimate one-fifth, or about 240,000 people, of the 1.2 million HIV carriers in the U.S. are not aware they are infected. Testing is one of the chief means of slowing new infections, which have held steady at about 50,000 per year for two decades.

    FDA officials said the test is aimed at people who might not otherwise get tested.

    “The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

    FDA stressed in its approval announcement that the test is not 100 percent accurate.

     

    The Orasure RapidTest  is available for purchase from 4mdmedical.com as single units, or in  quantities of 25 or 100 per case. You can also call us toll-free at 877-463-5818 or email sales@4mdmedical.com for more information.

     

     


    Natural Mosquito Repellent: Safer Ways To Prevent Bites

    June 11th, 2012

    By now you’ve probably heard the bad news: We’re in for a buggier summer than usual. Pests that usually would have died in the cold instead spent the unseasonably warm winter months breeding and waiting to feast.

    Mosquitoes can carry threatening diseases like malaria, West Nile and encephalitis, but only 29 percent of people say they fear mosquitoes for health reasons, according to a recent survey conducted by OFF! Insect Repellents. Nearly 60 percent, however, say they fear mosquitos because of the itch.

    Still, we’re not about to let some pesky flying bugs ruin an entire summer of backyard barbecues, woodsy hikes or dips in the lake.

    So what can you do to prevent bites? Read the rest of this entry »