Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vaccinations & Circumcision? A No Brainer…

A traveler walked down a country road in India. After traversing a few miles, he came to a fork in the road. The traveler knew that the two roads reunited after another mile or so, but he also knew that man-eating tigers roamed the woods.

An old man sat at the fork in the road, and the wise traveler decided to ask him what to do. The old man replied, “I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you this. During the past month, 100 men ventured down each road. Of the 100 who traveled the right road, five were eaten by tigers; of the 100 who traveled the left road, only four were eaten by tigers. It has been this way for as long as I can remember.”

Which road did the traveler take? Did he think he would be totally safe if he took the left road, or did he think only that he would be taking the safer bet?

Modern vaccinations and circumcision are choices facing parents every day. The bottom line of medical statistics tells us that, while vaccinations and circumcision may create problems with some patients, there is a better outcome for a higher percentage of children who receive these procedures.

It’s a no-brainer. Our new president can authorize all the studies he wants with our hard-earned tax dollars. They won’t change the facts.

Nurse Nan

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bottled Bug Sprays to Battle Zika

Zika virus is here. Each week seems to bring a new report of how it might be transmitted, but we know that mosquitoes are the prime carrier. Those pesky little buggers also carry other diseases, not to mention leaving ugly little whelps where they bite you. In short, if you’ve never thought too much about insect repellent, now is the time to start.

These over the counter repellents also protect from summer’s ubiquitous fleas and assorted biting flies. You can purchase them in various dispensers, with or without DEET, scented or unscented, and at various prices.

Which should you use? It's best to forego the do-it-yourself concoctions you’ll see showcased on various web sites. Now is not the time for hit or miss.

DEET? If a repellent works for you without that much maligned chemical, by all means go for it. If you’re major mosquito bait every summer, you may wish to stick with the formulas that contain DEET, at least until the Zika crisis has passed.

Remember to read the directions; basically don’t rub the spray into skin or don clothing while skin is still damp with the spray. Check after first use for any adverse skin reactions. Don’t let pets come in contact with anything damp from the spray.

What are your best choices? Here are six major brands packaged in atomizer type spray bottles:

Off - 4.99 for 6 ounces

Cutter - 4.99 for 6 ounces

Repel - 5.99 for 4 ounces 

Greenerways - 7.99 for 6 ounces

Coleman - 4.99 for 5 ounces

Eco-Defense - 9.99 for 4 ounces

Most of these sprays are fairly economical and last 12 hours or so. In extremely hot weather you’re more apt to perspire, so you may need to apply twice during a day spent outside, or in homes where fleas may be present.

Hoping nothing more than an attractive vampire bites any of you this summer!

Nurse Nan

Monday, February 15, 2016

The School Nurse as a Mother Figure?

Nurses who receive a Bachelor of Science degree are required to take a course in community nursing, a part of which involves a clinic with a school nurse. My one-day clinic was extremely memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. I came away knowing that I would seek a position as a school nurse only as a last resort and with one other piece of knowledge: High school students saw the school nurse as a kind of substitute mother.

The nurse with whom I trained was extremely free in telling me about each student who entered her office. I learned not only the student’s medical history, but their emotional and sexual history as well. I assume it was the nurse’s substitute for watching soap operas in the afternoon, but I left feeling that this woman was entirely too involved in the lives of these Madison County high school students.

Now a local school nurse has been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a female student. I’m hearing some say “how dumb is that?” More to the point is “how immoral is that?” This nurse was both licensed as an LPN and married in 1993, years before her victim was born. At one time the nursing profession was seen as the most moral and ethical in the United States. Now it’s second to firefighting, and may be falling fast in the estimation of the public.

The moral? Parents are entirely too trusting when it comes to their children’s mentors. A friend once told me she was leery of anyone outside her family paying a great deal of attention to her children. Each day that passes only proves how right she was in this. Is there an upside to this story? Yes, Florence will again make the Daily Mail.

Nurse Nan

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Positively No AIDS from Saliva

Recently the TimesDaily ran an article on Alabama Health Department official Tom Robertson who appeared at a local school for AIDS Day. The article, written by Lisa Singleton-Rickman was extremely similar to one she wrote on the same subject in 2013.

However, the 2013 article correctly stated that saliva does not transmit the HIV virus. The 2015 article incorrectly quoted Robertson as saying it did. Everyone should take precautions against the virus which is spread via contact with body fluids. I assume this misinformation was a misprint. One cannot acquire the virus through contact with either saliva or a mosquito bite.

Hoping everyone stays safe. You have a role to play in life!

Nurse Nan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Removing Splinters?

Articles on using common white glue to remove splinters from hands and feet crop up quite frequently. From personal experience, the glue method works only a small part of the time. What should you use?

Wax. Either depilatory wax or common candle wax will do. The important thing is not to overheat the wax; a microwave can bring the melted substance to an extremely high temperature, so it’s best to experiment with temps before applying the wax to skin.

Be sure to treat the area with common rubbing alcohol before applying the wax, then let the wax harden thoroughly before pulling it away from the skin. Ideally, more alcohol or astringent should then be applied to the area.


Flu season is coming. Have you made plans to get your vaccination?

Nurse Nan

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Latest: Ebola Can Live Outside Body for 50 Days?

Having had to dress in what could be considered hazmat gear for a patient (AIDS/HepC) when I was in nursing school, I knew that something was wrong somewhere in these tales of medical personnel being infected. Anyone with an iota of concentration would have felt the wetness and scrubbed down before touching a mucus membrane (eye, nose, etc.)

That left the virus living outside the body on a dry surface. As of yesterday, the longest amount of time listed as feasible was six hours. This would still involve some negligence on the part of nursing, etc., staff, but is more easily understood.

Today a new research study has stated the virus can live up to fifty days on a dry surface when temperatures are under 40 degrees. That probably wouldn't apply to most hospital settings, but it does give us some insight on how some of these patients contracted the disease while remaining adamant they had not touched a patient (Cameraman Ashoka Mukpo).

Has this UK study been confirmed? Not yet. It's at this point only food for thought.

More food for thought. Viruses and bacteria usually live for hours or even days on doorknobs. Hammered brass (with those small indentations) are the worst offenders. Flu season is almost upon us. Take care!

Nurse Nan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why El Patron Is Responsible for Salmonella Outbreak

Russellville Tex-Mex restaurant El Patron has a lot of fans. Some of them have asked me if transporting temperatures or something similar could have been responsible for last week's salmonella outbreak that sickened almost 20 customers.

From all I have ever been taught, both in food service management and nursing, the answer is no. If chicken was infected before its arrival at El Patron, proper handling would have most assuredly killed the bacteria.

We will will add here that some individuals apparently have natural immunity, usually because of a previous infection. Below is a link to a website that explains the salmonella bacteria in more detail.

Happy Eating, 

Nurse Nan