Flu Season is Around the Corner
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Signs and Symptoms of Flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish, chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe flu viruses spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. A person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
Period of Contagiousness
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions, like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing, to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat and lung) illnesses, like flu.
Misconceptions About Flu Vaccines
Can a flu shot give you the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: a) flu vaccine viruses that have been "inactivated" and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all, which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.
In randomized, blind studies, where some people get inactivated flu shots and others get salt-water shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults. Therefore, getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.
Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person's immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the "optimal" or best protection against the flu.
Why do some people not feel well after getting the seasonal flu vaccine?
Some people report having mild reactions to flu vaccination. The most common reaction to the flu shot in adults has been soreness, redness or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. This usually lasts less than two days. This initial soreness is most likely the result of the body's early immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the body. Other reactions following the flu shot are usually mild and can include a low grade fever and aches. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last one to two days. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccine are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.
3,600 People Started Misusing Opioid Pain Relievers Today
The United States makes up 5% of the world's population but consumes more than 80% of the world's opioids. Doctors who want to treat their patients' pain have been prescribing opioids at increasing rates. However, over-the-counter alternatives can be more effective and much less risky.
"The Evidence for the Efficacy of Pain Medications" and "The Psychological and Physical Side-effects of Pain Medication," written by Don Teater, M.D., examines both clinical studies and the detrimental impact associated with opioid prescription pain medications. Download the reports and discover whether your patients would be better served by using alternatives to opioids.
NEW Instructor Resource Center!
If you haven't visited the new Instructor Resource Center on the National Safety Council website, please take a look. It has been redesigned and is packed full of vital information such as training tips, news and resources to help you conduct your trainings. You can
access the new resource center here.
NSC Statement on Real-time Feedback Device Requirements
Current research indicates that the use of instrumented directive feedback devices and manikins can improve the overall quality of CPR performance. While NSC supports the use of such devices in CPR training whenever possible, there are no plans to require the use of such devices in NSC courses at this time.
How Does NSC Compare?
For decades, The National Safety Council has helped organizations prepare their employees for emergency situations.
NSC offers comprehensive training materials for instructors and employees that leverage some of the most advanced teaching tools. They help ensure your employees know what to do – and what not to do – in case of a medical emergency. That can literally save lives.
See how our programs stack up.
Download FREE NSC Emergency Medical Response App
The NSC Emergency Medical Response Quick Reference Guide is a vital reference tool. NSC is excited to offer a portable digital version of the guide. It contains the same need-to-know content as the traditional guide but in a convenient, always with you, electronic format. It's FREE and can help you save a life.
Launch Google Play or the App Store and search "National Safety Council" to find and install the app.
Meet Our Featured NSC Instructor, Mike Ezzell
Most people know that when it comes to team-effort, there are those who are always at the top of mind that can be counted on. You know, the ones that show up without fail when needed. NSC Instructor Mike Ezzell is one of those people. It's like the family member who keeps everyone together, gently nudges the rest of us to get in gear, and provides assistance to others without even so much as a blink of the eye.
We are happy to feature Instructor Mike Ezzell. A long-time teacher and trainer, Mike has taught at the elementary school level, as a public safety program leader, as well as in the corporate arena. To say the least, he is a safety expert who not only teaches the NSC First Aid menu of classes, but teaches for other NSC divisions as well.
Because of Mike's expertise, NSC has been able to utilize his unique skills for training events for our corporate clients across the country. His willingness to represent NSC with professionalism and flexibility when delivering a client's requested content is respected and appreciated.
From Mike's perspective: "It is great to have a student come back later to share how what they learned in the class helped them know what to do when a first aid situation arose."
We salute our Instructor, Mike Ezzell. And, in the spirit of the mission of the National Safety Council, we appreciate how you contribute to the mantra of keeping each other safe.
First Aid Kit for Your Pet
Remember, during a disaster, what's good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. In addition to basic survival items, make sure to have items to keep your pet happy and comfortable. Start with this list that includes items your pet needs to be ready:
Food: At least a three-day supply in an airtight, waterproof container
Water: At least three days of water specifically for your pets
Medicines and medical records
Important documents: Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents; talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database
First aid kit: Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution; a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too
Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and leash
Crate or pet carrier: Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate; the carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down
Sanitation: Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach
A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you; add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics
Familiar items: Treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet
Nominations Open for Green Cross for Safety Awards
Nominations are open through Nov. 30 for the NSC Green Cross for Safety Awards. Nominees can be individuals, researchers, coalitions or corporations of all types and sizes. The only requirement is a program with measurable impact in the pursuit of safety best practices. The awards are presented in three categories: Excellence, Innovation and Safety Advocate. The Green Cross for Safety Gala will be held May 23 in Chicago. Learn more
here or by emailing
ECCU 2017 is Dec. 5-8 in New Orleans
If you're charged with educating others about the latest CPR and ECC techniques, you won't want to miss ECCU 2017.
With more than 100 dynamic sessions and 150 speakers, learn new strategies on program implementation and best practices from top resuscitation experts.
Get the latest news about emerging trends in cardiac resuscitation. ECCU offers topics that are tailored to the workplace and the needs of CPR and ECC educators:
- What We've Learned About Corporate and Public Access CPR/AED Response
- CPR and AEDs: Surviving Cardiac Arrest in the Workplace
- How to Build a Medical Emergency Response Plan and a Fully Functioning Response Team
- First Aid at Work - From Compliance to Best Practices
- Instructor Tools and Tactics
- Review of CPR Skill Deterioration and Methods to Improve Quality
Reserve your spot. Register with your colleagues and save more with the group discount. Be part of the Call to Action and join us in New Orleans for the most interactive and exciting conference that teams up EMS professionals, instructors, scientists, researchers and survivors!
www.eccu2017.com for program information. Use #ECCU2017 on your social media posts.
Register NowView Program
Do You Know a First Aid Hero?
We are proud of our instructors and the important work you do. If you know of anyone who has a first aid story they would like to share please direct them to
NSC.org/FAhero to submit their story. We are looking for stories to feature from responders or victims. Below is a recently submitted story.
Having the Skills to Save a Life is an Amazing Thing
My company provided NSC First Aid, CPR & AED training for me in August 2016.
I had the opportunity to utilize that first aid training recently, though it was not on a co-worker, it was for a family member and may truly have been the difference between life and death.
My husband and I were visiting his family over the July 4 weekend. We were eating breakfast on Sunday, when my mother-in-law choked on a piece of sausage. My father-in-law immediately started the Heimlich maneuver, but was unsuccessful in clearing her airway, so I took over. I successfully dislodged the sausage and she was able to get air.
Seeing the look of terror on my husband's face, and hearing him say, "Can you do something?" is not a situation I look forward to being faced with again, but having the skills to step in and assist when needed was a wonderful thing. They live in a remote area, so it would have been some time until help could arrive. Being armed with the skills to save a life is an amazing thing.
While terrifying, this could have turned out very differently. In our case, once it was cleared, she needed a few minutes to regain her composure and we went on about our day celebrating.
PSA Insurance & Financial Services
New First Aid Product Spotlight
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens.
An airborne disease is any disease that is caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. Such diseases include many that are of considerable importance both in human and veterinary medicine. The relevant pathogens may be viruses, bacteria, or fungi, and they may be spread through coughing, sneezing, raising of dust, spraying of liquids, or similar activities likely to generate aerosol particles or droplets.
Did you know OSHA requires employers to safeguard employees who have a reasonably anticipated occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials? Without proper preparation in blood diseases and airborne pathogens, costly OSHA and state-specific regulatory fines could be levied. Much more importantly, lives could be adversely impacted or even lost. Ensure both safety and compliance with NSC Bloodborne & Airborne Pathogens training. Available in classroom or cost-effective online formats. Learn more.
Meet Donna Siegfried
Many of you at some point through your career as an NSC first aid instructor have talked to Donna Siegfried, senior director of first aid. Following are a few things you may not know about Donna:
- She started working at the National Safety Council July 29, 1974, with National Youth Organizations to implement safety and health program in their training
- In 1990 she founded and launched the NSC First Aid Institute; through her leadership, NSC has trained nearly 14 million medical emergency responders through more than 11,000 instructors and 2,500 training centers, saving more than 30,000 lives
- Donna is an active member of the NSC-OSHA Alliance and a board member of the Citizen CPR Foundation
When Donna is not in the office you can usually find her at the Vaughn Athletic Center in Aurora, IL, teaching Group X and Biggest Loser classes or spending time with her husband, Roy, and her dog, Toby.