9 Winter Safety Tips From the Red Cross

This winter is set to be one of the coldest on record, with massive cold air fronts predicted for most of the United States. Fortunately, the American Red Cross offers steps anyone can take to ensure their safety during this inclement season.

While we settle into the winter season, get acquainted with appropriate seasonal safety habits. A little bit of preparation can go a long way toward ensuring everyone has a great time in the snow. Follow these 9 safety tips from the Red Cross to avoid possible dangerous situations this winter:

  • Know the symptoms of frostbite, which can include: numbness, flushed gray, white, or blue skin, or numb or waxy skin.
  • Always shut down space heaters and ensure fireplace embers are fully extinguished prior to leaving a room or going to bed.
  • The signs of hypothermia include shivering, dizziness, confusion, and exhaustion. If you notice these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Layers of lightweight clothing trap heat and regulate body temperature. Also, don’t overlook necessities like gloves and a hat.
  • Continuously run water, even at a trickle, to prevent frozen pipes. Maintain a consistent thermostat night and day.
  • Set space heaters on a firm, level surface, and keep flammable objects a minimum of three feet away.
  • Stoves and ovens are not designed to heat homes; they are a fire hazard if left on.
  • When using a fireplace, make sure you have a metal or glass fire screen large enough to prevent rolling logs or sparks from escaping.
  • Protect your pets. If they must reside outdoors, ensure they have adequate shelter for warmth and a secure source of drinkable water.

The coldest, darkest poses quite a few safety challenges. Adhere to the tips above and stay safe, no matter what Old Man Winter throws your way.

6 Dangers of Pharmacy Compounding: What Patients Need to Know

For millions of Americans, prescription drugs provide the help they need to live healthy, independent, pain-free lives. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully examines each new drug before allowing pharmaceutical companies to release them onto the market.

However, patients sometimes have special needs that standard prescription medications cannot meet. Compounding pharmacies present solutions to these anomalies, creating customized formulations or delivery methods for patients with allergies or other special considerations. Since a licensed pharmacist must change the ingredients of a medication to meet individual needs, the practice comes with heavy inspections and heightened accountability. Unfortunately, many compounding pharmacies fail to protect public health adequately.

Compound drugs can and do save lives. However, when pharmaceutical companies engage in unapproved compounding practices, the ramifications for patients can include:

  • Contamination. Individual or small batches of medication are more vulnerable to harmful fungi or other particles.
  • Incorrect potency. While FDA-approved formulations have been shown to produce consistent results, custom mixtures may be too weak or strong for patients.
  • Diminished quality. Drugs mixed at independent compounding facilities often lack the quality control of major pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Impurities. Outside agents in compound drugs often reduce their efficacy.
  • Exacerbated illness. Patients with serious health issues often receive compound formulations. These can fail to adequately treat conditions, and their side effects can in turn severely impact an individual’s wellbeing.
  • Higher costs. An unfortunate number of compounding pharmacies take advantage of insurance billing policies by loading compound drugs with expensive ingredients. Prescription plans often pass these costs to customers or refuse to cover medications.

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