October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

Did you know sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the United States? SCA is a life-threatening emergency and occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, an individual collapses and does not respond or breathe normally. As October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, Indianapolis EMS (IEMS) wants everyone to know the difference between SCA and a heart attack, the importance of dialing 911 and starting CPR right away in the event of SCA.

Image courtesy of stopcardiacarrest.org

 

The survival of a SCA victim is dependent on immediate life saving measures such as CPR or the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) and calling 911 immediately. By doing CPR or using an AED prior to the arrival of emergency medical services, the chances of survival increase for SCA victims. For more information about SCA, please visit https://stopcardiacarrest.org/. As always, IEMS reminds everyone to dial 911 for all emergency situations and encourages bystanders to take necessary lifesaving actions prior to the arrival of emergency medical services. 

Helpful Tips for Preventing Falls this Month

Each year one in four Americans ages 65 and older fall resulting in both fatal and non-fatal injuries including fractured hips, broken bones and head injuries. Many times falls lead to depression or fear among older adults, making it difficult for them to stay active. This month for Falls Prevention Week beginning Sept. 20 through Sept. 24, Indianapolis EMS (IEMS) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reminds individuals to help reduce the risk of falls among their grandparents, parents and neighbors by following the below tips to keep those close to you healthy and active.

  • Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.
    • Ask your older loved ones if they are concerned or know the risks of falling. If they are concerned, have them speak with their health care provider about assessing their risk of falling to help prevent future injuries.
  • Discuss their current health conditions.
    • If your loved one is experiencing problems with their health or having difficulties managing their health, help them set up a wellness exam with their health care provider.
  • Ask about their last eye checkup.
    • Poor vision or difficulty seeing can cause older individuals to fall more easily. Have them visit their eye doctor for an updated vision screening more frequently as they age.
  • Notice if they’re holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking or if they appear to have difficulty walking or arising from a chair.
    • These are all signs that it might be time to see a physical therapist. A trained physical therapist can help your older loved one improve their balance, strength, and gait through exercise.
  • Talk about their medications.
    • If your loved ones are having trouble keeping track of their medications or experiencing negative side effects, have them speak with their health care provider. Incorrect use of medications can create unforeseen fall risks for older individuals. Medication regimens should be assessed regularly by medical professionals.
  • Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home.
    • There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult an Occupational Therapist. To help reduce falls, you can help your loved ones adjust home lighting, stairs and bathrooms to help prevent falling.
      • Lighting- increase lighting in areas of the home that are poorly lit or create hard to see tripping hazards.
      • Stairs- Check to make sure railings are secure and are placed on both sides of the stairs.

Bathrooms- Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.

For more information about fall prevention, please visit the NCOA website at https://www.ncoa.org/professionals/health/center-for-healthy-aging/national-falls-prevention-resource-center/falls-prevention-awareness-week. IEMS wishes everyone a safe and healthy start to the fall season this year reminds anyone experiencing a medical emergency to dial 9-1-1 immediately.

Back to school

It’s that time of year again, back to school. With central Indiana schools going back to in-person learning, more children will be at bus stops getting on and off their school bus. Indianapolis EMS wants to ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely this school year and reminds individuals to follow these back to school safety tips.

Bus Stop Safety

At the Bus Stop

  • Arrive early
  • Stand at least six feet from the curb
  • Avoid running around or playing while you wait

When the Bus Arrives or Departs

  • Never walk behind the bus, always cross the street at least ten feet in front of the bus.
  • Make eye contact with the bus driver to make sure he or she sees you crossing the street.
  • If you drop something in front of the bus, let the bus driver know right away.

Drivers

  • When backing out of your driveway, double check for children walking on the sidewalk to the bus stop.
  • When driving in neighborhoods, slow down. Watch for children waiting at bus stops or walking to their stop.
  • Be alert. Children running late to the bus stop may dart into the street without looking.
  • Stop when the bus stops.
    • Yellow flashing lights- these indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Slow down and be prepared to stop.
    • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms- Indiana state law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children.

IEMS wishes everyone a safe and healthy school year and encourages parents and drivers to read more about back to school safety online at https://www.in.gov/isp/2887.htm.

Stay Healthy this Summer

With temperatures on the rise this month, Indianapolis EMS (IEMS) wants Hoosiers to stay cool this summer and avoid heat related illnesses which occur when the body is unable to adequately cool itself. Typically the body will cool itself through sweating, but during extreme heat this may not be enough. Heat related illnesses cause the body’s temperature to rise faster with the inability to cool itself down in a normal amount of time. Heat related illnesses can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. IEMS encourages outdoor goers to follow the below tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to avoid heat related illnesses.

Stay Cool

  • Wear appropriate clothing – lightweight, light-colored loose fitting clothing items are best.
  • Stay cool inside – hanging out indoors with air conditioning is ideal.
  • Schedule outdoor activities appropriately – exercising or playing outside in the morning is best to avoid extreme heat.
  • Wear sunscreen – sunburns contribute to dehydration. Wearing sunscreen can help prevent sunburns from occurring.
  • NEVER leave children or animals in vehicles – cars quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures in the summer, causing occupants to suffer from heat stroke or death.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of fluids – drinking water while outside is best. It is recommended each person drink at least one gallon of water each day. Stay away from alcoholic and sugary drinks when outside as these may increase dehydration.
  • Replace salt and minerals – sports drinks can help replace needed salt and minerals you lose while sweating.

Be Summer Smart

  • Stay informed – check local news for updates on the heat index and outside temperatures.
  • Know the signs – learn the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses.
  • Use the buddy system – if working outside or participating in outside activities, check in on those around you often, including elderly neighbors or anyone who might not have air conditioning at their home.

IEMS wants all Hoosiers to enjoy the summer safely. Learn more about heat related illnesses and how to prevent them at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html. Please remember to call 9-1-1 during emergency situations.

 

Stay Cool, Stay Safe this Summer at the Pool

Whether you’re heading to the neighborhood pool or to your own backyard oasis, make sure you’re water competent this summer before diving in.

As drowning is the leading cause of death for children, it’s important to improve your family’s water competency to have an enjoyable, safe summer. The below tips from the American Red Cross can help prevent water dangers and help you respond quicker to water emergencies.

Water Smarts

  • Know your physical and medical limitations
  • Never swim alone
  • Swim sober
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest
  • Know how to call for help

Learn Swimming Safety Skills

  • Enter water that is over your head, then return to the surface
  • Float or tread water for one minute
  • Swim a minimum of 25 yards
  • Exit the water

Helping Others

  • Watch children or weaker swimmers closely
  • Know the signs of drowning
  • Safely assist drowning persons- “reach or throw, don’t go”
  • Perform CPR and first-aid

IEMS wishes everyone a safe, fun summer and reminds Hoosiers to dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency. To learn more about water safety through the American Red Cross website.


 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

The greatest spectacle in racing is back and Indianapolis EMS (IEMS) reminds Hoosiers watching the Indy 500 in person to enjoy the race responsibly and safely this year. Before heading to the track, make sure you’re prepared for a day in the sun and follow all health and safety guidelines set forth by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Beat the Heat

We understand you’re excited to be back at the track after a year off, but make sure you take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk heat exhaustion or too much sun exposure. Here are some helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC).

  • Stay hydrated– Water is the best beverage of choice to help reduce dehydration while outside for extended time periods. 
  •         Make your own shade– while you may not be able to watch the race under the shade, you can make your own through the use of an umbrella or wide brimmed hat.
  •        Choose the right clothingLong-sleeved shirts, long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. While wearing this type of clothing may not be practical for race day, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. 
  •          Hats– wearing a wide brimmed hat helps protect your face, ears and neck. If wearing a baseball cap, make sure you’re protecting your ears and next with sunscreen. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.
  •          Sunglasses– Eyewear helps protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. 
  •      SunscreenPut on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options.

 Adhere to all Health and Safety Guidelines

We’re all #INThisTogether and it’s important to follow all health and safety guidelines set forth by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to keep all spectators, employees and racers safe. This year, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are requiring the following from all spectators:

  •          Mask Up– Visitors over the age of four will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Complimentary masks will be available for those entering the venue.
  •          Social Distance– Maintain a safe, social distance between you and other spectators; especially in historically crowded areas such as restrooms, concession stands, and gates. 

Interested in learning more about what to expect during race day? Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website at https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/planyourvisit/indy-500

Drink Responsibly

If enjoying an alcoholic beverage during the race it’s important to remember the sun can intensify the effects alcohol can have on your body. Remember to not over indulge in alcoholic beverages while out in the sun. Finally, buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you feel different, you’ll drive different. Make sure you have a sober, designated driver to drive home after the race if necessary.

IEMS is excited to be back at the track this year, but wants all spectators to enjoy the race safely this year. Make sure to follow the above safety tips to help ensure a fun and safe race weekend!

 

IEMS encourages Marion County to properly dispose prescription drugs

IEMS encourages individuals to properly dispose prescription drugs

Over the past several years, the state of Indiana has seen an increase in the abuse of opioids and controlled substances resulting in overdoses. In 2021 alone, Indianapolis EMS has treated over 640 opioid overdose cases. That’s an average of 7 cases each day in Marion County alone.

According to the Indiana Attorney General, the opioid crisis and accidental overdoses in Indiana has caused more Hoosier deaths than vehicle collisions. IEMS wants to keep our community safe and help the fight against the opioid epidemic by providing information for detecting addiction early and disposing of medicine properly.

Know the Signs

Early detection of addiction can help save your life or the life of a loved one. While knowing the signs of addiction early does not replace professional treatment, it can help you identify a problem and be the first step in seeking out help. The Indiana Attorney General offers the below as signs to look out for possible addiction.

  • Taking more than prescribed
  • Running out of prescriptions too soon
  • Mixing pills and alcohol
  • Appearance of intoxication, hyperactivity, or loss of energy/interest
  • Seeking prescriptions for more than one injury or with multiple doctors
  • Abnormal behaviors, hostility, withdrawal, or sudden personality changes
  • Poor decision making, such as secrecy or defiance
  • Stealing, forging, or selling prescriptions

Disposing of Medicine Properly

You can also help prevent opioid overdoses by properly storing medications in your home and disposing of unused or expired prescriptions using the below methods suggested by the Indiana Attorney General:

Drug Take-Back

  • Indiana has several permanent Take-Back Locations throughout Indiana
  • Contact your city or county government’s solid waste management district
  • Ask if here is an available drug take-back program
  • Counties may hold household hazardous waste collection days

Household Disposal Steps

Protecting the environment is also important when disposing of medications.

·       DON’T flush expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or
drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.

·       DO return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to a drug take-back location.

·       The below steps are helpful if a drug take-back location is unavailable:

Photo courtesy of Indiana Attorney General

Have more questions about drug take-back locations or helping reduce opioid overdoses throughout Indiana, please visit https://www.in.gov/bitterpill/.

 

 

Celebrate Responsibly this Month

While the number of reported positive COVID-19 cases are declining in Indiana, it’s important to continue practicing social distancing. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches and our city hosts the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament this month, you may be inclined to go out with friends or host a party of your own. Before heading out or cheering on your team follow the below tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for celebrating safely. 

Tips for Social Distancing

  • Know Before You Go: Before going out, know and follow the guidance from local public health authorities.
  •  
  • Prepare for Transportation: Consider social distancing options for safe travel. When using rideshares or taxis, avoid pooled rides with multiple passengers and sit in the back seat of larger vehicles so you can remain at least 6 feet away from the driver.
  •  
  • Choose Safe Social Activities: It is possible to stay socially connected with friends and family who don’t live in your home by calling, using video chat, or staying connected through social media. If meeting others in person (e.g., at small outdoor gatherings, yard or driveway gathering with a small group of friends or family members), stay at least 6 feet from others who are not from your household. Follow these steps to stay safe if you will be participating in personal and social activities outside of your home. 
  •  
  • Keep Distance at Events and Gatherings: It is safest to avoid crowded places and gatherings where it may be difficult to stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not from your household. If you are in a crowded space, try to keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others at all times, and wear a mask. Masks are especially important in times when physical distancing is difficult. Pay attention to any physical guides, such as tape markings on floors or signs on walls, directing attendees to remain at least 6 feet apart from each other in lines or at other times. Allow other people 6 feet of space when you pass by them in both indoor and outdoor settings.

For more information about COVID-19 guidelines please visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or the Indiana State Department of Health online at https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/2400.htm..