medication errorSeniors may be at a higher risk of suffering from a medication-related error. The Harvard Medical School has tips for seniors to prevent these dangerous errors and injuries.

There are reasons why seniors may be at a higher risk of suffering medication error-related injuries. Aging-related cognitive slowness may cause a senior to misunderstand a doctor’s instructions. Hearing impairment is also another factor in such misunderstandings.  That failure to understand instructions clearly could lead to overdosages and other possibly fatal errors.

Remember, there are a number of factors that affect not just the effectiveness of your drug, but also its ability to cause harm.  As a senior, you have the right to complete information about the medication that is prescribed for you. If your doctor has prescribed a certain medication, ask questions about it.

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sign 3Since 2009, when pedestrian fatality numbers were at all-time lows, there has been a significant jump in the number of people dying while walking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently studied the reason for this increase in accident fatalities and the changing patterns involving these deaths.

Since 2009, the number of pedestrian fatalities has jumped by a staggering 46%. Not only have accidents become much more frequent, they have actually become even deadlier, and are now much more likely to result in fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, many of these fatalities now occur in urban or suburban areas. They’re also much more likely to occur on intersections, or arterial roads. Fatalities are also now much more likely to occur in the dark.

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Cold Weather Rider

You’re still much more likely to be injured while riding a motorcycle than driving a car, but those risks seem to have dropped somewhat. In 2017, there was a significant decline in the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents in the United States. However, that progress doesn’t seem to have percolated down to Indiana. Here, there was actually a significant increase in the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017, compared to 2018.

According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, preliminary statistics seem to indicate a drop of 6% in the number of motorcycle fatalities across the country in 2017, compared to 2016. Overall, there were 4,990 motorcycle accident deaths in the United States in 2017, a decline of 296 motorcyclist fatalities from 2016. It is a significant decline, and seems to indicate some progress in making the streets safer for motorcyclists to ride on. Even so, your risks as a motorcyclist are much higher than the risks of a motorist. Motorcyclists have a disproportionate risk of being killed or seriously injured in an accident. Fatalities for motorcyclists are as much as 20 times higher than for people riding in or driving passenger vehicles.

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Image result for hospital patient dischargeFar too many patients every year get themselves discharged from the hospital earlier than the doctor recommends. This is a common practice, but one that may have serious consequences for the patient.

The findings come as the result of a review which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently and finds that such voluntary, early discharges by patients are very common. Certain patients are much more likely to get themselves discharged from the hospital early, in the face of the doctor’s advice. Male patients, for instance, are much more likely to get an early discharge, compared to female patients. Younger patients, according to the data, seem to be much more likely to leave the hospital early.

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Image result for highball glassIn spite of being aware of the risks of drunk driving, many teens choose to ride in cars being operated by intoxicated or impaired motorists anyway.

Those facts come from a recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The researchers focused on accidents involving both alcohol- intoxicated and drug-impaired motorists. They found that teenagers are much more likely to ride in a car operated by a driver impaired by marijuana, than a driver intoxicated by alcohol.

The study was based on findings from between 2013 and 2014, and focused on young students who had just graduated from high school. The researchers found that at least one in three of the young teens reported that they had traveled in a car with an impaired motorist, on at least one occasion in the previous 12 months. Out of these, 23% of the young students surveyed said that they had traveled with a driver impaired by marijuana, while 20% had traveled in a car operated by a driver under the influence of alcohol.  According to the findings, teenagers need to be made more aware of the dangers of riding in a car with an impaired driver, especially one under the influence of drugs like marijuana.

anesthesia complicationsSeniors are living healthier and longer lives than ever before. With life expectancies on the rise, most seniors can expect to undergo at least one surgical procedure during their lifetime. That means going under general anesthesia, exposing the senior to a number of the complications that anesthesia can involve.

There is no denying the fact that an older mind is much more likely to suffer from the complications involved in general anesthesia. However, the good news is that due to advancements in medical technology, many of those complications can be foreseen and prevented.

One of the more common anesthesia complications that older patients are vulnerable to is postoperative delirium. A patient who suffers from postoperative delirium may come out of anesthesia feeling very confused or disoriented. He may have no awareness of his surroundings. There may be concentration and attention difficulties that may last from a few hours to a couple of days after the surgery. Generally, postoperative delirium only lasts for a maximum of a week after the surgery.

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Image result for Ignition Interlock Laws Help Save LivesLaws that require persons convicted of drunk driving offenses to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles, can help save lives in alcohol-related car accidents.

That information comes from a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study found that laws that require all drunk driving offenders to have devices that prevent the person operating a motor vehicle when he is intoxicated, installed in all their vehicles, can reduce the number of people involved in fatal alcohol-related car accidents by as much as 16%.

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Image result for iv dripA dose of acetaminophen could significantly increase comfort and reduce pain for patients coming out of anesthesia.

Those findings come from a recent study which was presented at a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.  The study found that acetaminophen reduces the chances of patients suffering shivers and extreme chills when they wake up from the effects of anesthesia.

Approximately 50% of all patients who go under general anesthesia experience shivers, when they regain consciousness. The reason for these shivers is not known, but they are common after a surgery. These shivers are not just uncomfortable, but could also be painful. Additionally, such uncontrollable shivering when a patient comes out of anesthesia could actually be dangerous. It places a huge strain on the cardiovascular system, and preventing such shivering is always a priority for doctors. This is especially true in the case of patients who already have a high cardiopulmonary risk. For these patients, such shivering and chills could possibly be deadly.

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Image result for semi truckThe federal administration’s new trucking rule that would require the use of digital tracking technology in all commercial trucks, is soon to go into effect. However, all initial reports suggest that there are still quite a few quibbles with the technology that need to be ironed out.

As of April 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new rule that requires electronic logging devices on trucks and 18-wheelers, went into effect. All commercial trucks must now have a compliant electronic logging device that will help monitor and track down the driver’s hours of service.

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Image result for motorcycle helmetIt’s a well-established fact that wearing a motorcycle helmet significantly raises the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury in an accident. However, new research now indicates that helmets are also very beneficial in helping protect motorcyclists against a possibly dangerous cervical spine injury.

New research was conducted by conducted by a team of neurological surgeons at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison, and published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. According to the new data, the old theory that motorcycle helmets do nothing to protect against spine injury and other injuries in an accident, may not be true after all.

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