Spring First Aid Tips

Spring is a season of growth and renewal, but it can also bring about some health challenges. Here are some first aid tips for spring:

  1. Be prepared for allergies: Spring is notorious for seasonal allergies, so make sure to stock up on over-the-counter allergy medications, like antihistamines or decongestants, if you’re prone to allergies. Keep a close eye on symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.
  2. Watch out for insect bites and stings: As the weather warms up, insects like bees, wasps, and ticks become more active. If you’re spending time outdoors, wear protective clothing and use insect repellent. If you do get bitten or stung, remove the stinger (if applicable) and wash the affected area with soap and water. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed.
  3. Protect yourself from the sun: Spring is a great time to spend time outdoors, but it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  4. Be mindful of spring cleaning hazards: Spring is a popular time for cleaning and decluttering, but it’s important to be mindful of potential hazards. Use caution when using cleaning products, wear gloves and protective clothing if necessary, and make sure rooms are well-ventilated.
  5. Stay hydrated: As the weather warms up, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks or alcohol, which can dehydrate you.

Remember, if you experience a medical emergency or have any concerns about your health, seek medical attention right away.

How to Help Someone During an Asthma Attack

Asthma is a lifelong condition that causes problems with breathing. Asthma attacks can be mild or severe and may cause wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, chest discomfort, fever and fatigue. An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to “asthma triggers.” Asthma triggers can vary from person to person and asthma sufferers should know their triggers and how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when a trigger cannot be avoided. According to the CDC, common triggers include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dust mites
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Cockroach allergen
  • Pets
  • Mold
  • Smoke from burning wood or grass
  • Infections like flu

The steps to help someone during an asthma attack with an inhaler include:

  • Shake the inhaler hard 10-15 times before use
  • Have the victim exhale out all the way
  • Next, the victim should place the inhaler in their mouth (between their teeth) and make a tight seal.
  • As they slowly breath in, press down on the inhaler one time. Encourage them to keep breathing in slowly and deeply.
  • The victim should hold their breath for 10 seconds if they are able while removing the inhaler from their mouth before exhaling
  • If the instructions on the inhaler allows, these steps can be repeated.

If the victim does not improve, you may need to seek additional medical care or call 911.

There are also steps to take if the victim does not have an inhaler:

  • Have the victim sit up (do not lay down)
  • Focus on breathing
  • Encourage the victim to breath in through their nose and out through their mouth.

The key to managing asthma is prevention. By identifying and avoiding triggers, using an asthma inhaler, and engaging in regular exercise, it is easier to prevent an asthma attack from occurring. To learn how to help someone during an asthma attack, be sure to take first aid and CPR training!

Workplace Emergency Action Plans

Emergencies can happen at any time. The most effective way to handle a crisis situation is to prepare in advance by creating an Emergency Action Plan. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) even requires written Emergency Action Plans for many businesses, and specific businesses have additional regulations due to their part in the country’s infrastructure or their handling of hazardous materials. Beyond that, there are many reasons for having a solid preparedness program.

Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with those issues specific to your worksite is not difficult. It involves taking what was learned from your workplace evaluation and describing how employees will respond to different types of emergencies, taking into account your specific worksite layout, structural features, and emergency systems.

To help get you started, we are providing a template from the CDC. Emergency Action Plans (EAP) are living documents and should be reviewed and updated at least once a year.

As part of your EAP, don’t forget to get certified in first aid and CPR!

Click Here for an Emergency Action Plan Template

For Additional Resources, please visit the CDC webpage devoted to emergency preparedness:


5 Fun Nebraska Tornado Facts – Tornado Season Approaches

With Nebraska Tornado Awareness week taking place at the end of March and the beginning of tornado season at hand (in 2014 the first tornado spotted was on April 27th), it seemed timely to share some Nebraska Tornado Facts.


1) The most deadly tornado to occur in Nebraska happened on Easter Sunday in 1913:

1913 Omaha Easter Sunday Tornado

On Easter Sunday 1913 a series of tornadoes followed by flooding struck the midwest US. The most notable tornado of the series is an F4 (possibly F5) tornado that crossed Omaha, skirting the downtown area. The tornado caused 103 deaths and 305 injuries.

62 years later (in 1975) another F4 tornado would strike Omaha, causing only 3 deaths (but is estimated as the 3rd most costly tornado in American history).


2) 2004 was the year with most identified tornadoes in Nebraska:
In 2004 there were 111 tornadoes identified in Nebraska, 66 of them in May. Among them is the F4 tornado that destroyed 95% of Hallam, Nebraska, which was the largest tornado on record until 2013.

DCF 1.0
Hallam, NE – 2004

DCF 1.0
Hallam, NE – 2004


3) The Nebraska county experiencing the most tornadoes per sq.mi. is Hall, County:

It’s well known that Grand Island sees a large number of tornadoes. Grand Island is the county seat of Hall county, the Nebraska county to have had the highest tornado density since 1950. Hall county has experienced more than 5 times more tornadoes than either Douglas or Sarpy counties in the last 65 years.

Grand Island Tornado Damage


4) Over 50% of Nebraska tornadoes happen between 4PM and 8PM:
Most tornadoes happen between 4 and 8 in the afternoon/evening in Nebraska. About 1 in 6 tornadoes happen in the 5 o’clock hour, during one of the heaviest traffic times of the day.

Tornado Near North Platte, NE


5) Nebraska is 5th Nationwide in tornado occurrence:
Nebraska ranks 5th in number of tornadoes but only ranks 23rd in fatalities and 24th in injuries when looking at data from 1950-1994. The low injury rate is certainly influenced by Nebraska’s low population density, but can also be owed to improved severe weather preparedness, such as building construction and early warning systems.

Tornado Near Ruskin, NE


I hope you enjoyed the quick tornado facts, and have a safe and fun tornado season.

Snow Shoveling Heart Safety

Heart Safety in Snow Season
Winter can be a great time of year, but it has it’s own special dangers. If you live in a region that receives snow during the winter season, you are probably familiar with the task of snow shoveling.  However, you may not know that snow shoveling can increase your risk of heart attack.  The American Heart Association warns that snow shoveling may increase the risk of heart attack for some people [1].  Why is that, and what simple things can you do to decrease that risk?
Snow shoveling, physical exertion, and stress on the heart have been correlated with heart attacks experienced after snow storms [2].  Dr. Eric Van De Graaff (an Alegent Creighton Physician who specializes in cardiology) notes 5 triggers for heart attacks: “a lot of exertion”,”morningtime”,”intense emotions”,”big meals”, “dirty air and traffic snarls” [3].
Fortunately The American Heart Association provides some simple tips that can help you reduce your risk while shoveling snow [1]:
– Give yourself a break.
– Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling.
– Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower.
– Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body
– Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling.
– Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition
– Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia.
The Health and Safety Institute (a major provider of emergency response education) recommends to keep an eye out for the signs of a heart attack: lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back [4].  And most importantly, if you think you are having a heart attack call 911; quick access to advanced medical care is critical for someone suffering a heart attack.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!