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Medications & Illness

  • Extreme Heat ??

    It is Extreme Heat Week... ??

    Extreme heat is defined as a period of excessively hot weather, with higher than average temperatures for a particular region, combined with high humidity. Extreme heat events can happen anywhere in the United States. Extreme heat commonly occurs in the summer; however the main season for heat waves may vary regionally.

    During the past 10 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates that heat waves have resulted in the highest annual average of deaths among all weather - related disasters.

    Beat The Heat Stay HotWhat can you do? Here are 5 Simple starters

    1. Common Heat Dangers
    • #BeatTheHeat with safety tips about heat, outdoor safety, staying hydrated and skin protection!
    • Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency. #BeatTheHeat and call 911 if you see someone suffering!
    • The signs of heat exhaustion- heavy sweating, clammy skin & a weak pulse - mean it’s time to cool off!
    1. Skin Protection
    • A sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 can keep your skin cool and help you #BeatTheHeat!
    • A burn from the sun can ruin your day, so wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep heat at bay.
    • The sunscreen on your skin will eventually dry, so #BeatTheHeat and reapply!
    1. Staying Hydrated
    • Caffeine and alcohol may sound fun, but they’re no good if you’re out in the sun! #BeatTheHeat and stay hydrated.
    • Never attend a crowded outdoor event without plenty of water to #BeatTheHeat. Remember, heat is a major killer.
    • Sports drinks have electrolytes that help you stay hydrated. Drink them WITH water to #BeatTheHeat.
    1. Outdoor Safety
    • Dizziness is a sign of heat exhaustion. If you get woozy, go inside for a cool drink to #BeatTheHeat!
    • If you start to get tired playing out in the sun, go back inside for some indoor fun! #BeatTheHeat
    • If you’re outside during an event, #BeatTheHeat and know where First Aid services are!
  • More on Zika

    We have shared Zika – Facts and Prevention as well as some information on Zika and Pregnancy, but did you know that:

    • Zika is linked to cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby’s head is much smaller than expected, often from abnormal brain development.
    • To protect their pregnancies, pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika.

    Now you can use CDC’s Zika Communication Planning Guide for States to prepare a communication plan and raise awareness about Zika virus.

    Learn more about Zika Virus.


  • Zika and Pregnancy

    We've shared information about the Zika Virus in general, and have a page dedicated to Zika Facts and Information for all to understand this virus, risks, and learn about Zika Prevention and get updates.

    What about ZIka and Pregnant Women?

    pregnancy-buttonIt is very important the pregnant women (or women that may become pregnant) know first that ZIka can be spread sexually, and secondly that Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant.

    Some other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth as well, including poorly developed or completely absent brain structures, underdeveloped hearing, eye malformation, and stunted growth.

    The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends special precautions for pregnant women.

    ? Women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with Zika.

    ? If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

    What CDC & Who recommend:

    ? Use condoms during intercourse

    ? Use insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites

    ? Treat your clothing with special spray designed to kill mosquitoes before they reach your skin.




  • Got your Bowels in an Uproar?

    TP-2There are many reasons to feels queasy or suffer from an upset stomach - rich foods, illness, even drinking contaminated water or being in an atmosphere you are unaccustomed and not acclimated to. Diarrhea can also be caused by allergic reactions, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and many other ailments and issues.

    Whatever the cause, it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Simple remedies like drinking mildly carbonated beverages and mild but salty foods (like soda crackers) can help absorb and dissipate the offending matter in your tummy, but sometimes more aggressive measures are required.

    What is most important to remember is that Vomiting and Diarrhea lead to dehydration - which can be deadly. Above all else, remember to replenish your fluids and electrolytes if you body decides it its time to purge.

    DiamodeAnti-Diarrhea / Antidiarrhoeal / Anti-Diarrheal - Comparable to Kaopectate & Imodium: Anti-Diarrhea Tablets are comparable to Kaopectate and Imodium. Provides Relief from Abdominal Cramps, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, Heartburn and Nausea.

    Anti-Diarrhea / Antidiarrhoeal / Anti-Diarrheal: Medication to ease discomfort and symptoms of upset stomach

  • Zika - Facts and Prevention

    Is Zika Virus a threat in the US? Yes. Is it a pandemic, or of emergency proportions? No. Not at this time.

    MosquitoWhile the WHO (World Health Organization did declare the Zika virus to be a global health emergency, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) say that it is not a serious threat in the USA... yet.

    While the mosquitoes that spread the disease do exist in the US, the virus is not yet prevalent enough to consider it a likely risk, and certainly not yet anything approaching pandemic proportions. The CDC explains that Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

    • These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases.  They prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.
      • Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night.
    • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

    Also (rarely) from mother to child

    • A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare.
    • It is possible that Zika virus could be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. We are studying how some mothers can pass the virus to their babies.
    • To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where Zika virus is found.

    Sometimes through infected blood or sexual contact

    • Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.


    ~ No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease (Zika).
    ~ Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites (see below).
    ~ Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
    ~ Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

    So why is everyone talking about Zika Virus?

    There have been over 50 reported Zika cases in the US thus far - but they are all travel related.

    Ben's Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent (Permethrin) Ben's Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent (Permethrin)

    If traveling to a an area where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found (or if you are pregnant and concerned that you might be near someone who has traveled to one of these areas and could be infected) take these precautions recommended by the CDC:

    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
      • Always follow the product label instructions
      • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
      • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
      • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
    • If you have a baby or child:
      • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
      • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
      • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
      • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
      • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
    • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
      • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
      • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
      • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.


    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
    • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

    Areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus

    • Zika-MapPrior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
    • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.
    • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries.
    • Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.

    About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).

    The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.

    The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

    People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

    Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.

    There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections.

    Treat the symptoms:

    1. Get plenty of rest.
    2. Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    3. Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
    4. Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
    5. If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

    If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. See Ben’s Outdoor – with DEET

    During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites.

    An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

    More detailed information can be found on CDC’s Zika virus web page for healthcare providers

  • Ben's Outdoor - with DEET

    bens-outdoor-deet-permethrinBen’s was started by a gentleman named Mark Mowatt out of Maine. He had previously worked for the company that sold and distributed the Muskol brand insect repellent.  He felt that he could better market and promote the product on his own, so he created a new brand and named it after his son Ben.

    Mark started with a 100% DEET re-packaged into a bright orange bottle and marketed it throughout New England, starting in Maine and growing the brand from there.  Tender Corporation was already in the insect bite treatment market and struck up many conversations with Mark at a variety of trade shows.  Through these conversations Mark discovered it made a great deal of sense to sell the brand to Tender Corporation and concentrate on other areas of the business.

    Ben’s was purchased by Tender Corporation in April of 1987 and extended the brand into a Ben’s Wilderness formula (30% DEET) and backyard Formula (20% DEET).  The mid 90’s brought forth a new formulation with the incorporation of their Turco machine (bag on valve technology). They were one of only three companies to use this technology in manufacturing.   This allowed Tender Corporation to take out alcohol and propellant, leaving 100% repellent in our product lines.  They continued on with Ben’s Wilderness and Ben’s Backyard formulas.  Looking at the differentiation and the fact that there was not many costing points between the 20% and 30% they decided to drop the 20% and focus the brand on the higher end DEET messaging, from 100% down to the 30%. 0006-7070

    DEET has been the most tested chemical by the EPA over the last 60-70 years.  There have been no health issues related to the use of DEET that were not intentional by the end user.  It is a very safe and effective active ingredient for repellents. Tender Corporation has continued to enhance the packaging and messaging while sticking with the bright orange coloring in a variety of sizes in pump sprays, continuous spray and wipes in the Ben’s 30% to handle the variety of needs the marketplace has.

    Ben's® Outdoor

    Ben's Products - Deet & Permethrin Based Insect Repellents: Ben's Deet repellents - offering protection from insects that may carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile Virus (WNV), malaria and other infectious diseases. Don't be afraid or bothered to be outside with Ben's Deet repellant's. Providing protection for up to 8-10 hours, Ben's products will help you relax and enjoy your outdoor outings without the worry or annoyance of bugs!

    Ben's Products: Ben's 30 and 100 Deet Repellent bug spray NEW BEN'S® CLOTHING AND GEAR REPELLENT See them here!

  • Basics about Radiation

    What is radiation?

    In general, the following kinds of radiation are evaluated for purposes of radiation protection:  alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, X rays, and neutrons.
    Brief definitions of these follow:Radiation

    Alpha rays
    A particle ray consisting of two protons and two neutrons (namely, a nucleus of helium). Alpha rays are produced following spontaneous decay of certain radioactive atoms, such as radium, plutonium, uranium, and radon. Because of its large mass and positive charge, an alpha ray can usually pass only a short distance--less than 1 mm--in water. A single piece of paper can stop an alpha ray effectively. Therefore, health effects of alpha-ray exposures appear only when alpha-emitting materials are ingested (ie, internal exposure).

    Beta ray
    A particle ray consisting of a fast electron whose mass is nearly 1/2000 of the mass of a proton or neutron. Beta rays are produced following spontaneous decay of certain radioactive materials, such as tritium (an isotope of hydrogen), carbon-14, phosphorus-32, and strontium-90. Depending on its energy (ie, speed), a beta ray can traverse different distances in water--less than 1 mm for tritium to nearly 1 cm for phosphorus-32. As with alpha rays, the major concern for health effects is after their ingestion (ie, internal exposure).

    Potassium Iodide Tablets USP, 130 mg Potassium Iodide Tablets USP, 130 mg

    Gamma ray
    An electromagnetic wave, a gamma ray is similar to ordinary visible light but differs in energy or wavelength. Sunlight consists of a mixture of electromagnetic rays of various wavelengths, from the longest, infrared, through red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, to the shortest in wavelength, ultraviolet. A gamma ray's wavelength is far shorter than ultraviolet (ie, it is far higher in energy). Gamma rays are produced following spontaneous decay of radioactive materials, such as cobalt-60 and cesium-137. A cobalt-60 gamma ray can penetrate deeply into the human body, so it has been widely used for cancer radiotherapy.

    X ray
    X rays have the same characteristics as gamma rays, although they are produced differently. When high-speed electrons hit metals, electrons are stopped and release energy in the form of an electromagnetic wave. This was first observed by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, who considered it a mysterious ray, and thus called it an X ray. X rays consist of a mixture of different wavelengths, whereas gamma-ray energy has a fixed value (or two) characteristic to the radioactive material.

    Neutron particles are released following nuclear fission (splitting of an atomic nucleus producing large amounts of energy) of uranium or plutonium. In fact, it is neutrons that trigger the nuclear chain reaction to explode an atomic bomb. Neutrons hardly damage cells because they do not carry any electrical charge. However, the human body contains a large amount of hydrogen (a constituent of water molecules that occupy 70% of the human body), and when neutrons hit the nucleus of hydrogen, ie, a proton that is positively charged, the proton causes ionizations in the body, leading to various types of damage. At equivalent absorbed doses, neutrons can cause more severe damage to the body than gamma rays.

  • Components of a Drug-Free Workplace Program

    No two workplaces are the same, and no two employers will take exactly the same approach to addressing alcohol and other drug abuse. The chart below shows a number of options for starting or expanding a drug-free workplace program.

    Some employers may be interested in only one component; others may want to implement several or all of them. The decision will depend on the level of concern about the problem, the potential for alcohol and other drug abuse at the worksite, and the available resources. Remember, there is no one "right" way to start a drug-free workplace program.

    Each component in the chart is explained in greater detail in the following sections of this kit. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive approach to developing a drug-free workplace program.

    Components of a Drug-Free Workplace Program


    Needs Assessment

    As with any other organizational change, assessment is the first step. A careful needs assessment can lead to early program success. The needs of an employer with 200 employees, 75 of whom drive company vehicles, will be very different from the needs of an employer with only 8 employees who work all day on computers. Local resources also will vary from one community to the next.

    Policy Development

    A written policy tells everyone the organization’s position on alcohol and other drug abuse and explains what will happen if the policy is violated. This is the central component of most programs.

    Employers often ask if they can "borrow" another employer’s policy and tailor it to their workplace. While this is certainly possible, it is best to draft a policy that meets your own organization’s specific needs. Many employers find it helpful to involve supervisors and employee and union representatives in drafting a policy. These people can offer practical ideas and help to write a well-rounded policy. In general, employees who contribute to a policy are more likely to willingly comply with it. They’ll also be better able to explain it to others.

    Employee Education

    A plan for introducing the drug-free workplace program to employees and for informing them about alcohol- and other drug-related issues will be important to the program’s overall success. The educational components in this kit provide the basic facts about alcohol and other drug abuse and guidelines for informing and educating employees.

    Supervisor Training

    If your organization has managers or supervisors, they can provide valuable support in introducing and carrying out a drug-free workplace program. They cannot do it alone, however; they will need guidance, direction, and support.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    An EAP is one way for an organization to offer help to employees with personal problems, including problems with alcohol and other drugs. This component can be a sign of employer support and a source of improved productivity. Although not every employer will want or be able to afford an EAP, it is worth considering. Low-cost options for offering an EAP are available, making this component within reach even for companies with limited resources.

    Drug Testing

    Some employers believe that a drug-free workplace program and drug testing are the same. In fact, drug testing is only one possible component of a drug-free workplace program.

    Drug testing has its place and can be helpful. It can also be a source of controversy, anxiety, and concern among employers and employees. Therefore, it is a big decision. A successful drug testing program requires careful planning, consistently applied procedures, strict confidentiality, and provisions for appeal.

    Drug-Free Workplaces: No Two Are the Same

    Many options for creating a drug-free workplace program are available to employers. The Employer Tip Sheets in this kit are designed to help you make the best choices to protect your organization and the health and welfare of your employees. Just as no two businesses or organizations are exactly alike, no two drug-free workplace programs will be the same. Shape your drug-free workplace program to meet the needs of your organization -- for now and for the future.

    Checklist For Program Development

    ___ Assess organizational needs
    ___ Identify available resources
    ___ Create a drug-free workplace policy
    ___ Determine if an EAP will be available
    ___ Determine if drug testing will be included
    ___ Train supervisors
    ___ Educate employees
    ___ Evaluate your program

    Hallmarks of Successful Drug-Free Workplace Programs

    Employers who have successfully implemented drug-free workplace programs offered these suggestions to employers who are just beginning to address the issue of alcohol and other drug abuse in their own organizations:

    Think Things Through

    Starting a drug-free workplace program requires careful planning. It’s important to think ahead, define clear goals for the program, and seek advice from other employers with experience when you need it. Learn as much as you can about existing programs and policies before you begin.

    Involve Employees

    Work with your most valuable resource: your employees. They can help get the message out, clarify goals, and make sure the program fits into the daily reality of your workplace. Showing employees that you value their input vests them in the program and helps to make it work. Most estimates indicate that at least 8 out of 10 of your employees are probably not abusing alcohol or other drugs -- they are already part of the solution.

    Emphasize Fairness

    Drug-free workplace programs are serious business. Violating a drug-free workplace policy could mean that someone will lose a job or not be offered one. Protect your organization with procedural rules that are clear, fair, and consistently applied. The policy should also include provisions for appeal. With these steps in place, employees are more likely to support the program and trust that the employer will carry it out fairly.

    Consider the Collective Bargaining Process

    Where drug testing is a mandatory subject of collective bargaining, the rules for involvement of employee representatives are clear. Even when drug testing is not subject to collective bargaining, or when it is mandated by law, discussing the drug-free workplace policy with union representatives can be very useful. They may have model programs or other ideas to offer, and they can be very helpful in communicating program purpose, procedures, and policies to the employees they represent.

    Protect Confidentiality

    Employees will support and have faith in your drug-free workplace program when their confidentiality is protected. If employees choose to tell coworkers about their private concerns (e.g., results of a drug test), that is their decision. However, when an employee tells you something in confidence, you are obligated to keep it between the two of you. To ensure employee support of the program and avoid legal problems, make confidentiality a priority and spell out the penalties for anyone who violates it. (See the Supervisor’s Guide for more information about confidentiality.)

    Ensure Accurate Testing and Objective Review

    If your program includes alcohol or other drug testing, satisfy yourself and your employees that samples are correctly collected; the chain of custody is flawless; the tests are conducted by properly trained and supervised laboratory technicians using equipment that is appropriately maintained; laboratory performance and accuracy is independently reviewed; and results are communicated through a medical review officer (MRO) trained to render judgments.

    Ensure Proper Use of the Program

    Fair procedures and provisions for appeal reduce the possibility of misunderstandings between employers and employees. Train your supervisors to carry out their roles in the drug-free workplace program appropriately, and review and evaluate their performance in this area to prevent misuse of the program.

    Ask For Legal Review

    Whether you write the first draft of your policy yourself or tailor an existing policy to your needs, having your program, policy, and procedures reviewed by an attorney experienced in labor and employment matters in your State is extremely important. An attorney can advise you on any relevant State laws governing drug-free workplace programs or employer testing, and on how the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) may affect your program implementation. An attorney can also alert you as laws and regulations change over time. (See the Supervisor’s Guide, "Other Issues" section, for more information about the ADA.)

    Pay Attention to the "Human" Factor

    A drug-free workplace program that communicates care and concern for employees is more likely to succeed than one that seems scary or that intimidates employees. Providing assistance for employees with alcohol or other drug problems is one way employers can communicate that they care. Not every organization can afford to cover the costs of treatment for alcohol or other drug abuse; however, you can encourage employees to seek outside help and make it clear that help is available.

    Ensure Good Communication and Ongoing Review

    Explain your drug-free workplace program by using a variety of communication strategies. The message should be clear from the start. Effective ways to communicate include written materials, charts, meetings, question-and-answer sessions, and a suggestion box. Employers who are successful at this know it is important to repeat the message periodically, watch how the program works on a day-to-day basis, invite feedback, and revise the program as needed to meet the specific needs of the workplace.

    Stay Current

    Drug-free workplace programs are being studied and improved all the time. Keep current by joining local drug-free advocacy groups or coalitions. Some trade and professional associations also provide up-to-date information about drug-free workplace issues. Some employers ask an employee group to periodically review the program and suggest appropriate changes.

    Address Concerns and Barriers

    Employers with successful drug-free workplace programs report that they had a number of barriers to overcome before implementing a successful program. The following are examples of common barriers you may face as you consider implementing a program:

    Do I need to bother? . . . Wouldn’t I know if employees were abusing alcohol or other drugs?
    drug-freeAbuse and addiction are serious, complex, and progressive illnesses. You may not "know" about an employee’s condition until the later stages of the disease process because that is when problems related to abuse or addiction become most apparent. So you may or may not know if employees are abusing alcohol or other drugs.

    Organizations that don’t have drug-free workplace programs tend to be places where alcohol or other drug abusers want to work. Having a program in place now can reduce costly problems in the future. In addition to all of the other health, safety, and security risks that can arise, no employer wants to be the employer of choice for people who abuse alcohol or other drugs.

    Will having a program create negative attitudes among employees?
    Employees will be concerned and have questions about any new policy or program. Because of the sensitive nature of a drug-free workplace program, it is important to involve employees, listen to their questions and concerns, and explain why the decision has been made to implement a drug-free workplace program in the organization. If the program is presented in a positive way -- not as punishment -- the chances are good that employees will respond positively.

    Creating a Drug-Free Workplace Policy

    A written drug-free workplace policy is one of the essentials of an effective program. Nevertheless, employers interested in creating a policy for the first time share some common concerns.

    Why Put the Policy on Paper?

    A written policy helps both the employer and employees to focus on important details. Other reasons for putting the policy in writing include:

    • It may be required -- for example, by the Drug-Free Workplace Act or by an insurance carrier.
    • It makes legal review possible.
    • It provides a record of the employer’s effort and a reference if the policy is challenged.
    • It may protect the employer from certain kinds of claims by employees.
    • A written policy is easier to explain to employees, supervisors, and others.

    Can a Policy Be Borrowed From Someone Else?

    If policies for similar organizations or work settings are available, it may not be necessary to develop one from scratch. Sample policies are likely to be found through a variety of sources: from other employers, through community alcohol and other drug organizations, or from CSAP’s Workplace Helpline at 1-800-WORKPLACE, which can provide copies of sample policies. Before you adopt an existing policy, however, make sure it fits your organization and your priorities. Also, consider contacting the employer who wrote the policy to ask a few questions:

    • Is the policy still in place?
    • Has it been changed in any way? How? Why?
    • What aspects of the policy have been most successful? Least successful?
    • Have there been any implementation problems? How were they solved?

    A borrowed policy may not contain everything you need. When modifying or adopting an existing policy, consider these questions before you start to cut and paste:*

    • Are there Federal, State, or local laws/regulations that apply to my workplace?
    • Are any of my employees covered by the terms of a collectively bargained agreement?
    • What philosophy and goals should the policy emphasize? Prevention? Punishment? Treatment?
    • Who will be covered by the policy? All employees? Employees in certain jobs? Consultants? Contractors?
    • What substances and behaviors will be prohibited?
    • Will the policy include any form of drug or alcohol testing?
    • When will the policy apply? During work hours? At events after hours?
    • Where will the policy apply? In the workplace? Outside the workplace while on duty? Off duty?
    • Who will implement and enforce the policy?

    * Adapted from "Guide for Drug Free Workplace Policy Makers: Issues, Options, and Models," Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1992.

    Where To Go For Help

    "We are a small, family-owned company with many long-term employees. In the back of our minds, we always knew that if an employee had an alcohol or drug abuse problem we would do everything we could to help him or her find treatment, but we didn't have a written policy. Then one day someone who had been with our company for 3 years came to us about an alcohol problem. We realized that we didn't know where to send her or whether we could hold her job while she went for treatment. It motivated us to put our policy in writing. The process of formalizing the policy helped us look for more information about drug-free workplace programs, think about our options and procedures, and then tell our employees about the company's policy in case this happened again."
    Owner of a printing company

    Look in the phone book under your city or town’s name and look for entries like "Drug-Free Business Initiative" or "Coalition for Drug-Free Workplaces."Drug-free workplace groups and coalitions in your community may have model policies or be able to connect you with other employers who already have a policy or program in place. Since the Drug-Free Workplace Act was passed, many local and national programs have been set up to help employers create effective policies. Many of these programs were created by and for employers in your community. Finding these resources may take more than one telephone call or letter, since there may not be a centralized list in your State or local area:

    • Call or write your State’s office for alcohol and drug abuse services and ask if they have a list of groups in or near your community.
    • Call or write your local mayor’s office, police department community relations office, office of economic development, or business relations office and ask if they have a list of coalitions.
    • Call or write your State or local Small Business Administration and ask if they know of resources or consortia in your area.
    • Call or write your chamber of commerce or business, trade, or professional association and ask if they have services to help employers start a drug-free workplace program.
    • Call CSAP’s Workplace Helpline at 1-800-WORKPLACE.

    What Belongs in a Policy?

    Whether you create your own policy or decide to adopt all or part of someone else’s, a successful policy will include the following:

    A Rationale

    The reason for the policy
    What it is designed to do
    How it was developed

    Expectations and Prohibitions

    The employee behaviors that are expected
    Exactly what substances and behaviors are prohibited

    Consequences and Appeals

    Precisely what will happen if an employee violates the policy
    Procedures for determining if an employee has violated the policy
    How appeals will be handled

    Benefits and Assurances

    Efforts to help employees comply with the policy
    How requests for help will be handled
    How employee confidentiality will be protected
    How fairness and consistency will be maintained

    Should You Invite Others To Help?

    It pays to involve employees and others in developing the policy. Employers continually find that when employees have been consulted about a new policy and believe their voices have been heard, they are more likely to cooperate. Some employers set up a task force or employee group to help develop their policy. Others solicit broad review and comment before adopting a policy. When employees are represented by a union, the policy may be an issue for collective bargaining. Union representatives can offer ideas and programs that will make the policy operate more smoothly.

    Before You Put a Policy in Place

    It’s always advisable to have a draft of a new drug-free workplace policy reviewed by an attorney experienced in labor and employment matters. Implementing the policy will have implications for the job security of employees with alcohol or other drug problems. Given the potential consequences of violating the policy, legal review is critical. Legal review is also important because of the growing and ever-changing body of laws and regulations about drugs in the workplace.

    Employee Education

    Educating your employees about alcohol and other drug abuse is important:

    • It gives the program a high priority and says that everyone in the organization needs to be involved"
    • It fosters a spirit of cooperation -- "We’re all in this together."
    • It helps to dispel myths about alcohol and other drug abuse and acknowledges the impact of substance abuse on friends, family members, and coworkers.
    • It encourages employees to buy into the program and reinforces the importance of addressing alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace.

    Setting the Tone

    Your employee education program will be more effective if it doesn’t sound like a "from the top-down" mandate. How you communicate with employees and the tone you take will be crucial to the success of your program.

    A positive approach...

    . . . lets employees know the program is intended to improve the work environment for everyone. The message is:

    "This is OUR problem, and here’s how WE can solve it."

    . . . supports employees:

    "If you have a problem, we want to give you a chance to get help."

    A negative approach...

    . . . takes a more punitive, judgmental attitude. The message is:

    "You’d better watch out or you might be in trouble. We have our eye on you."

    . . . threatens and scares employees:

    "One mistake and you’re out of here."

    Setting a positive tone doesn’t mean you have to coddle alcohol or other drug abusers. Some employees may need counseling or drug treatment. Although the majority of your workforce probably do not have alcohol or other drug problems, most employees welcome an organization’s efforts to help employees who do need it.

    When and Where

    There is no one right way to educate your employees. You may want to start with a modest effort. Over time you may choose to add other elements to the program. Employee education can include the following elements:

    • A meeting with staff members or department heads to explain the organization’s policy and the drug-free workplace program
    • Informational materials about the company’s program and about alcohol and other drug abuse -- pamphlets, flyers, paycheck stuffers, home mailings, free videos, and so on
    • Posters and signs reminding employees that yours is a drug-free workplace and that your worksite promotes healthy activities like smoking cessation, regular exercise, and good eating habits.

    The most important point is to keep the focus of the program clear and consistent. Several small steps toward employee education throughout the year are better than one large meeting with no followup.


    Even though this section of the kit is about employee education, everyone benefits from education about alcohol and other drug abuse. Owners and top management, supervisors, and employees at all levels need to know about the problems associated with substance abuse and the benefits of a drug-free workplace program. To ensure the success of your drug-free workplace program, ask all upper-level managers to become familiar with the Employee Fact Sheets and the Supervisor’s Guide provided in this kit.

    The Minimum

    When resources for employee education are limited, at a minimum you need to inform your employees about the company’s drug-free workplace policy. A policy briefing should address the following:

    • The rationale for the policy -- what the law requires, why the program is important to your organization, and the cost of alcohol and other drug problems in the workplace
    • Details of the policy, including the consequences for violating it
    • Available help for employee problems, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), if applicable, or referral to other local resources.

    Providing your employees with some basic information about alcohol and other drug abuse also reinforces your policy and communicates that you care about their welfare. Extending the education to their family members can promote that concept, and can improve the chance that a troubled employee will be identified by a spouse or child. Providing basic information can be done through brief meetings, brochures and other written materials, videos, home mailings, and so on. The content might include the following:

    • Hazards of alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace (increased accidents, decreased productivity, etc.)
    • How to recognize a potential alcohol or other drug problem of coworkers, family members, or friends (what to do and what not to do)
    • The nature of alcohol or other drug abuse and some ways addiction can be treated
    • Available resources within the organization or in the community.

    A variety of informational items are provided in this kit. See the Supervisors’ Guide and the Employee Fact Sheets for more information about alcohol and other drug abuse, addiction, and recovery, and for telephone numbers of helpful resources. National, State, and local resource organizations also offer free informational materials.

    Employee Education Planning Checklist

    ___ Obtain and review materials. (See the Employee Fact Sheets and Supervisor’s Guide for resources.) Also, some publishing companies sell pamphlets to businesses. See the Employee Fact Sheets for a list of publishing companies and telephone numbers.

    ___ Tell the person who will be distributing the materials to fill in the local resource phone numbers in the spaces provided on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet and on the posters.

    ___ Plan for informational sessions or distribution of materials over the long term (rather than a one-shot presentation).

    ___ Involve key staff in planning and followup.

    ___ Schedule followup meetings and/or distribute materials on a regular basis.

    ___ Provide referral and resource lists.


    Workplace Drug & Alcohol Abuse

    Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Employees - OSHA Safety Training: Substance abuse is a huge, worldwide problem. In the United States alone there are over 50 million binge drinkers, 17 million illegal drug users and almost 15 million people who abuse prescription drugs. Most substance abusers have jobs. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten workers has a substance abuse problem. An employee with an alcohol or drug problem can decrease productivity, create a hostile work environment and damage a company's good name. Worst of all, the actions of a worker who is "under the influence" can completely undermine a company's efforts to keep people safe.

    The first in a two-part series on dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, Our training products on "Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Employees" discuss the various types of substance abuse that are found in the workplace, how they can affect an employee's work situation and what employees themselves can do to help keep their workplace drug and alcohol free. Topics covered in these products include:

    • How substances are typically abused by employees.
    • Alcohol and other depressants, and their effects.
    • Stimulants, narcotics and hallucinogens, and their effects.
    • How people get "hooked" on drugs and alcohol.
    • Alcohol and drug policies.
    • Helping employees overcome substance abuse.
    • and more.

    Workplace-drugsDealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers - OSHA Safety Training: Substance abuse is a huge, worldwide problem. In the United States alone there are over 50 million binge drinkers, 17 million illegal drug users and almost 15 million people who abuse prescription drugs. Most substance abusers have jobs. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten workers has a substance abuse problem. An employee with an alcohol or drug problem can decrease productivity, create a hostile work environment and damage a company's good name. Worst of all, the actions of a worker who is "under the influence" can completely undermine a company's efforts to keep people safe.

    The second in a two-part series on dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, Our training products on "Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers and Supervisors" discuss the various forms of substance abuse that are typically found in the workplace, how managers and supervisors can detect substance abuse problems, and what they should and shouldn't do if they discover a worker with a substance abuse problem. Topics covered in the products include:

    • How substance abuse can affect a workplace.
    • Laws and regulations related to substance abuse.
    • How to help create an alcohol and drug-free workplace.
    • The role of education and testing in preventing substance abuse.
    • Recognizing on-the-job substance abuse.
    • How to handle substance abuse situations.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

    Supervisor Training

    The Supervisor’s Role

    Supervisors have a variety of responsibilities within a drug-free workplace program. Supervisors should:

    • Know the organization’s program and policy, including the rationale for the program and specific details about drug testing procedures, if applicable, as well as other components
    • Be able to explain the program to employees
    • Know where to refer employees for help and information
    • Understand and accept the importance of supervision as a tool for implementing the policy -- recognizing that the supervisor is the best judge of employee performance.

    Supervisors are not expected to provide substance abuse counseling. Neither should they try to diagnose alcohol or other drug problems. If a supervisor suspects an alcohol, drug-related, or other problem, particularly as evidenced by poor job performance or conduct, the employee should be referred for professional evaluation and assistance.

    The Supervisor: Enforcer or Advocate?

    Because an important responsibility of supervisors is to observe and evaluate employee job performance, they can be effective advocates for employees. They can encourage employees to deal with work-related problems that may or may not be connected with alcohol or other drug use. They also can suggest sources of help and support, such as an employee assistance program (EAP) or local treatment program, when an employee has problems.

    If an employee has been given a chance to improve job performance but hasn’t changed his or her behavior, the supervisor may need to take a more forceful approach. Still, the emphasis should be on improving the employee’s job performance, not on judging the employee.

    What Supervisors Need To Know

    All supervisors should be provided with basic information about the program and their role in carrying it out. This includes:

    • The rationale and specific details of the program startup and implementation
    • The supervisor’s specific responsibilities for initiating and carrying out the drug-free workplace policy and program
    • Ways to use the Employee Fact Sheets and/or posters and decal in this kit as a source of information and employee education
    • How to recognize and deal with employees who have job performance problems that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drugs, including personal and family problems.

    Guidelines For Effective Supervision

    1. Be attentive.
    Be ready to recognize employee problems (e.g., accidents, frequent lateness, mood swings) that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drug abuse.
    2. Observe.
    Focus on specific aspects of job performance.
    3. Document.
    Keep an ongoing record of the employee’s performance.
    4. Focus on job performance.
    Avoid judging, diagnosing, or counseling the employee.
    5. Be thoughtful.
    Stay nonjudgmental and recognize the employee’s point of view.
    6. Be straightforward.
    Stick to the facts of job performance; don’t get sidetracked.
    7. Be consistent.
    Follow the same procedures for all employees.
    8. Maintain confidentiality.
    Discuss employee problems in private and keep the discussion between the two of you.
    9. Refer.
    Encourage troubled employees to seek help from the resources available in the workplace or the community.
    10. Follow up.
    Continue to assess employee job performance over a period of time.

    How To Provide Supervisor Training

    Supervisor training can be provided in a variety of ways, depending on available time and resources. These can include:

    • Training the supervisors yourself
    • Having a consultant from a local community agency or EAP conduct the training (they may offer role playing and other training methods that are not possible with written materials only)
    • Using the Supervisor Materials and Employee Fact Sheets in this kit, as well as any other materials provided by the employer or a consultant.


    Supervisor Training Checklist

    ___ Decide how supervisor training will be done -- where, when, by whom, and with what materials.

    ___ Hold a meeting to inform supervisors about the drug-free workplace program, the organization’s policy, and their role in carrying it out.

    ___ Distribute the Supervisor’s Guide and Employee Fact Sheets.

    ___ Instruct supervisors to fill in the local resource phone numbers on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet before distributing them (if you have not already done so yourself).

    ___ Schedule followup training or use the materials in this kit as self-instructional guidance.

    ___ Follow up with additional resources, booster sessions, question-and-answer sessions, and program review.

  • Winter Colds & Flu

    Get Set for a Healthy Winter Season

    Although contagious viruses are active year-round, we’re most vulnerable to them in fall and winter. That’s because, in large part, we spend more time indoors with other people when the weather gets cold.

    Fortunately, you can fight back with several FDA-approved medicines and vaccines.

    Colds and Flu

    Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. But some cause serious health problems. People who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and more severe complications than nonsmokers.

    Winter BugsColds usually cause a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. There is no vaccine against colds, which come on gradually and often spread through contact with infected mucus.

    Flu comes on suddenly and lasts longer than colds. Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Young children may also experience nausea and vomiting with flu. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. You also can get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it.

    Flu season in the United States may begin as early as October and can last as late as May, and generally peaks between December and February. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    • More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.
    • Between 1976 and 2006, the estimated number of flu-related deaths every year ranged from about 3,000 to about 49,000.
    • In the 2014-15 season, there were about 40 million flu-associated illnesses, 19 million flu-associated medical visits, and 970,000 flu-associated hospitalizations—the highest estimate for a single flu season.

    Prevention Tips

    Get vaccinated against flu.

    With rare exceptions, everyone ages 6 months and older should be vaccinated against flu. Flu vaccination, available as a shot or a nasal spray, can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

    It’s ideal to be vaccinated by October, although vaccination into January and beyond can still offer protection. Annual vaccination is needed because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may need to be updated, and because a person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu. These people include:

    • Children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2.
    • Pregnant women.
    • People with certain chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease).
    • People 65 or older.

    Vaccination is especially important for health care workers, as well as those who live with or care for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications, such as people older than 65 or with compromised immune systems. Because babies younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu vaccine, their mother should get a flu shot during her pregnancy to protect them throughout pregnancy and up to 6 months after birth. Additionally, all of the baby’s caregivers and close contacts should be vaccinated.

    Although there was a less than ideal match between circulating flu strains and those included in the vaccine during last season, CDC estimates that the vaccines still provided about half the protection they did during the previous season. CDC also reports that this season’s vaccines better match circulating viruses.

    Practice healthy habits.

    Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through contaminated surfaces, including the hands. Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.

    Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life.

    • Eat a balanced diet.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Exercise.
    • Do your best to keep stress in check.

    What to Do if You’re Already Sick

    Usually, colds have to run their course. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

    Here are other steps to consider:

    • Call your health care professional. Start the treatment early.
    • Limit your exposure to other people. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Stay hydrated and rested. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products, which may dehydrate you.
    • Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

    In addition to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, there are FDA-approved prescription medications for treating flu. Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

    Tips for Taking OTC Products

    Tablets-MedicationsRead medicine labels carefully and follow the directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine.

    Choose OTC medicines appropriate for your symptoms.

    • Nasal decongestants unclog a stuffy nose.
    • Cough suppressants quiet coughs.
    • Expectorants loosen mucus.
    • Antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing.
    • Pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.

    Check the medicine's side effects. Medications can cause drowsiness and interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other. It’s best to tell your health care professional and pharmacist about every medical product and supplement you are taking.

    Check with a health care professional before giving medicine to children.

    See a health care professional if you aren't getting any better. With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

    Signs of trouble for all people can include:

    • cough-coldA cough that disrupts sleep.
    • A fever that won’t respond to treatment.
    • Increased shortness of breath.
    • Face pain caused by a sinus infection.
    • High fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you’re producing, after feeling better for a short time.

    This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products

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