Biohazard Exposure Prevention

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Posted on 31st January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

How to become a paramedicPercutaneous means through the skin is another way that biohazardous microorganisms can enter the blood or body fluids.  The most common way that percutaneous exposure is accomplished is through intact skin as a result of accidental needlesticks and injures from biohazard sharps including broken glass and specimen tubes.  The best way to prevent percutaneous biohazard exposure is to use a biohazard sharps device for needle safety, as well as wearing heavy duty utility gloves when cleaning up broken glass.  Never handle broken glass with out protective gloves.  Even the smallest break in skin can cause exposure.  There is additional information about this subject on Friday’s blog at how to become a paramedic blog, but it is about preventing becoming exposed to HIV while working as a paramedic.

Permucosal exposure occurs via the mucous membranes when infectious microorganisms or other biohazards enter the body.  The mucous membranes of the mouth and nose and the conjunctiva of the eyes are the most common entry sites for permucosal exposure.  This commonly occurs when droplets generated by sneezing, coughing, splashes, or aerosols come into contact with the eyes, notes or mouth.  Most often contaminated hands are the number one cause of exposure to these areas.  The chance of premucosal exposure can be greatly reduced by following procedures that prevent exposure to splashes and aerosols.  Wearing the proper personal protective equipment, when working with biohazards, is essential to preventing exposure.  It is also best to avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.  Many colds and viral infections are transmitted through permucosal exposure.  Following simple protocols can help prevent biohazard exposure as well as exposure to unwanted colds and viruses that can keep you home sick and unable to work.

Massage Therapist: Knots and What to Do With Them

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Posted on 26th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Massage, KauaiAs a massage therapist, you get used to gliding over people’s bodies with your hands, and you might quickly realize that no two bodies are the same.  You also may realize that the same body can feel and respond differently at different times and on different days.  Sheeesh!  Don’t stress, eventually you will know how to distinguish between a knot, which is a tense lump of muscle tissue, from a normal area of muscle tone.  When you discover the difference, it will be easy to apply the correct techniques to help your clients relax those tight places.  I had an incredible massage, Kauai where a fellow therapist seemed to know exactly where all of my knots were and apply the correct amount of pressure to release the tension.  It is a gift.

As a massage therapist, you could easily spend an entire hour just dealing with your partner’s knots, so you have to decide intuitively when enough is enough…..then move on to the next area.  This decision can be a tough call because your partner’s knots and sore spots are the areas which will need the most attention.  As a general rule, during a full body massage, spend no more than  five minutes on any particular tight spot.  If you want to focus on it later, schedule another appointment to work on that spot in particular.

It is also good to remember: When working on tight spots, don’t just dig in like your excavating for gold in a rocky mine…instead use soothing and gentle, but insistent pressure precisely locating any tight spots, and touching it as if your fingers are coaxing the knot to soften, relax, and release….there ya go.

How To Become A Dental Assistant

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Posted on 25th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

How to become a Dental HygienistDo you ever see those commercials on television about what the best careers are to pursue?  Well,  one of the great careers mentioned is usually a dental assistant.  But what steps should you take to become a dental assistant? What is required to become a dental assistant? Here is an easy overview of the steps needed to become a dental assistant.

The first step could potentially begin while still in high school (if anyone reading this is still in high school).  You can begin to prepare to become a dental assistant by taking more advanced math classes and science courses while still in school.  Chemistry and biology classes will help as well.

Most of us have already completed high school.  In this case,  you may have to brush up with some extra courses at a local community college to catch up on requirements.

The second step, we recommend, would be to observe a dental assistant on the job.  Ask your dentist if you can come to the office and observe his assistant at work one day.  This exposure will give you a realistic overview of what the job of becoming a dental assistant entails.

Third you want to go on the Internet and find more information about becoming a dental assistant.  One good place to start looking is to check for a dental assistant school where you can get certified.  This is a step that can be done before you graduate from high school, or anytime after as well.

Finally, take any remaining “required” courses that you may need prior to certification, and pass both portions of the examination that your state requires. Be aware that you may also have to take a test about professional legal aspects of becoming a dental assistant, depending on the state that you live in.

Becoming a dental hygienist almost deffinately ensures that you will always have a job.  It takes a little work but it pays off to have a rewarding career that helps others.

The Tools of a Phlebotomist

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Posted on 21st January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Phlebotomy is the practice of bloodletting or bleeding that was often performed over large areas of the body with many different types of devices.  Some of these devices are still used today and others have lost favor through the years.

Lancets

Lancets were first used around 400 BC.  They were often made of stone or wood and were commonly reused on multiple patients.  Because there was no understanding of infection, the reusesof lancets caused the spread of much infection from patient to patient.

Spring Loaded Lancets

Spring loaded lancets were popular in the 18th century and are still used today.  This popular design used a spring-driven blade to puncture the vein.  This type of lancet is the most common type used today.

Fleam

A fleam was a device very similar to a lancet.  Sticks were used to hit the back of a blade and cause it to puncture a vein.  Veterinarians were known to use this method.

Scarificator

A scarificator was also popular in during the 18th century.  This device was able to cause many shallow cuts on a section of skin.

Flint Glass Cups

Dry cupping was a process that was used to bring blood to the surface of the skin.  This was done by heating a flint glass cup and placing it on the patient’s skin.  An incision would be made a few minutes after.  The cup was often heated and placed on a localized area of the skin after the incision was made.  This would create a vacuum effect on the incision and cause the blood to flow up into the cup.

Leeches

Leeches have been used for medicinal bloodletting long before written documentation and for at least several thousand years.  The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, was used extensively during the 19th century and is still being used today.  Leeches are often used for their ability to prevent blood clots from forming.  This can be beneficial when trying to prevent a wound from healing too quickly.

Pharmacology: The Source of Drugs

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Posted on 19th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

The prescription drug world that we think of today is extremely advanced compared to centuries ago.  However, all of the advances in technology have not changed the fact that most of the medicines we have come from the same basic places- plant, animals and minerals.  The foundation for medicinal drugs have not changed, but was has changed is effectiveness and side effects associated with the advanced forms of commonly used drugs today.  When Studying how to become a pharmacology technician you will learn all about this; here is an abbreviated explanation.

Plants are a major source of many drugs we use today.  They have been used for centuries as natural remedies for injuries, illnesses and diseases.  Pharmaceutical companies actually search the world over looking for plants they can harvest to transform into drugs with the ability to treat diseases.  Many companies send scouts out to indigenous cultures to identify the healing plants that are used in those small societies.  Many of the drugs we use today come from these same small indigenous cultures.  A good example of a very popular drug from a plant is digitalis.  Digitalis is the name of the drug that is obtained from the leaves of the foxglove plant.  This very powerful drug is used to treat congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.

Animal byproducts are also commonly used as drugs to treat many hormonal conditions.  Often animal glands are used for hormonal therapy.  Urine is also often used.  For example, the drug Premarin is derived from mare urine, and is used primarily for its high estrogen content.  Even human byproducts are used for drug therapy.  Insulin is an example of a human byproduct that is currently being recovered using DNA technology.

Minerals are inorganic crystal substances that are found naturally in the environment.  They are vital to good health and help to maintain homeostasis in the body.  An imbalance of minerals can cause many health problems like weak bones, poor digestion, heart disfunction, liver and kidney disfunction, and a sluggish lymphatic system.   Many drugs use minerals to help treat people who suffer from health issues due to mineral deficiencies.

Pharmacology: How Drugs Move Through Our Body

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Posted on 18th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

How to become a pharmacologist How a drug moves through the bloodstream to the various tissues of the body can depend on several different factors- blood flow, volume of distribution, drug redistribution, and specific barriers.  While studying how to become a pharmacologist, this is one subject of interest.

Blood flow is important to drug distribution because many drugs can leave the circulation easily through diffusion between or across capillary or endothelial cells.  If the blood flow to the various organs, like the brain, liver, and kidney are slow, the distribution of drugs to those organs will also be slow.  The distribution of drugs to the brain, liver and kidney is greater than to muscles and skin, which is also greater than to fat and bone.

The volume of distribution is the total volume of body fluid that a drug is able to disperse in.  This amount is determined by administering a specific amount (expressed in units of mass) of drug intravenously.  The initial blood plasma concentration is measured.  The result should express the units of drug administered (m/g) / the initial plasma concentration (mg/L).

It is important to note that the volume of distribution of most drugs does not represent the actual distribution in body fluids.  This number is primarily used for conceptual purposes.  Drugs that do not distribute much have small values.  A very low value may indicate a lot of plasma protein binding of the drug.  A very high value usually means that the drug distributes extensively and may be bound extensively to tissue sites.  The volume of distribution of a particular drug can be influenced by several variables such as, age, sex, weight and disease processes.

Allied Health Departments of Clinical Analysis

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Posted on 14th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

allied healthThe two final departments of clinical analysis we will review this week on our allied health blog are the microbiology department and Immunohematology department.  We hope our overview of different clinical analysis lab tests, and departments has been interesting and informational.  Lots of times we go to hospitals as patients and don’t realize where our urine or blood goes, and what tests need to be run.   A lot of skill and knowledge are applied when analysis is applied to samples.  As an allied health professional, it will be important to have a general understanding of these different unknown areas of the hospital or clinic which you may work in.

Microbiology

The presence of microorganisms in the blood is primarily analyzed by the microbiology department.  Culture and sensitivity testing (C & S) is performed on body fluids and tissues.  Results of a C & S tell the type of organisms present and which antibiotics would provide the most effective form of treatment.  In order to identify microorganisms it is important to transport these types of specimens properly.   Subsections of microbiology are bacteriology, parasitology, mycology, and virology.

Immunohematology

The immunohematology department of the laboratory is basically the blood bank.  It prepares blood products to be used for transfusions.   Whole blood, platelets, packed cells, fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitates are the blood components dispensed from this department.  Blood samples from all donors are carefully tested before any transfusion is administered.   Careful testing ensures that blood incompatibility and transfusion reactions can be avoided.  The blood bank offers transfusion services, if necessary, that are designed to collect, prepare and store blood from donors or patients who would like to donate their own blood for autologous transfusions.

Lactation Consultant: Breastfeeding Safe Medications

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Posted on 13th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

After nine months of pregnancy, having to take prenatal vitamins, watch what you eat and avoid many medications, once your baby is finally born you might think you are free from restrictions.  If you decide to breastfeed, which is the best and healthiest choice for your baby, you will have to continue your watching what you eat and which medications you use.

Here are some common terms you may come across when looking for medications you can use that are safe for baby while breastfeeding, or taking lactation consultant training.

Compatable

A drug that is designated compatable either does not excrete clinically significant amounts into human breast milk or it does not cause toxicity to a nursing infant.

Hold Breast Feeding

A drug with this designation may or may not be excreted in breast milk.  Your doctor will likely only prescribe this type of medication if he/she feels the benefit to the mother outweighs the baby’s need for breast milk.  It is advised that you do not breastfeed while taking a medication with this designation.

Probably Compatable

Drugs that fall under this category have usually not been found to cause significant risk to a nursing infant.  In many instances these drugs have very limited human data.

Contraindicated

Drugs in this category suggest that they may cause severe toxicity to a nursing infant or the condition of the mother is such that breast feeding is not advised.  Women should not breast feed if they are taking a contraindicated drug or have a condition that requires the use of a contraindicated drug.

Definitions of Common Pregnancy Recommendations for Medications

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Posted on 12th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

If you are pregnant, you have probably already been told by your doctor, family and friends that there are new things to consider about the foods you eat and the medications you take.  The list of things to avoid can be daunting and in some cases it is hard to tell the truth from the wife’s tales.  In any case, here is some useful information I learned from my lactation consultant about terms that you may come across on certain medications and what these terms mean for you and your baby.

Compatible

If you are thinking of taking a medication that states that it is compatible, then rest assured that clinical trials have found that drug to cause little to no risk to fetal development.

Probably Compatible

Drugs with this classification may or may not have been tested on human pregnancies.  However, the potential maternal benefit is considered greater than the unknown embryo/fetal risk.

Human Data Suggests Low Risk

Drugs with this classification have probably had limited human pregnancy experience.  These drugs are not likely to cause a significant risk of developmental toxicity at anytime during pregnancy.

Contraindication- 1st Trimester

Drugs with this classification have been found to cause developmental toxicity (growth retardation, structural defects, functional/behavior deficits, or death) if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.  This drug should not be used during the first trimester.

Contraindications- 2nd and 3rd Trimesters

Drugs with this classification have been found to cause developmental toxicity if taken during the second and third trimesters.  These types of drugs should not be used during the second or third trimesters.

Contraindicated

Any drug that is considered contraindicated are not safe to be taken during anytime during pregnancy and should be avoided completely.

Allied Health: Departments of Clinical Analysis

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Posted on 11th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

When studying any area of Allied Health, it is important to know what the different departments of clinical analysis are:  You never know what area you will be requesting tests or studying how to become LPN nurse, a radiologist technician, a sonography technician or any other allied health profession.  We will talk about hematology, coagulation, and urinalysis today.

Hematology

The hematology department in a hospital is tasked with identifying diseases associated with blood and blood-forming tissues.  A complete blood count (CBC) is the most commonly ordered hematology test ordered.  Automated instruments, such as the Coulter counter, electronically count the cells and calculate the results for a CBC.  The results are reported on a form called a hemogram.

Coagulation

Coagulation is the study of the blood’s ability to form and dissolve clots.  It is very closely related to hematology tests.  This department is often located in the same area as the hemotology department.  Coagulation tests are used to analyze defects in the blood clotting mechanism.  Discovery, identification and monitoring of the blood can be done through coagulation.  Coagulation tests are often used to monitor patients who are taking medications called anticoagulants.  Anticoagulants are chemicals that inhibit blood clotting or that are considered “blood thinners.”  The prothrombin time test is used to monitor warfarin therapy.  The activated partial thromboplastin time test is used to evaluate heparin therapy.  These are the two most common coagulation tests.

Urinalysis

The urinalysis (UA) department collects and analyzes urine specimens manually or by using automated instruments.  A routine urine test includes physical, chemical and microscopic evaluations.  The color, clarity and specific gravity of a specimen is determined by a physical examination.  A chemical evaluation is performed by using chemical reagent strips.  Proteins and sugars can be identified with these strips.  The presence or absence of blood cells, bacteria, crystals and other substances can be determined by doing a microscopic examination.