What is this flu all about? The number of cases in Oklahoma is staggering and they seem to be on the rise. CSCSO is passionate about serving the disabled and providing them disability support, but we want everyone to stay healthy this winter. It has been a rough flu season and it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end! This year’s flu is shaping up to be one of the worst in years. The influenza A (H3N2) appears to be the most prevalent this year. It is particularly nasty, with more severe symptoms including fever and body aches. Another influenza B virus subtype also is circulating. It isn’t as severe, but it isn’t any fun either. Flu season in the U.S. typically starts in October and ends in May, with December-February as the peak time. This season’s flu vaccine is likely to be less effective than in previous years. U.S. flu experts say they won’t fully know how effective this season’s vaccine is until the season is over. Vaccines are less protective if strains are different than predicted and if unexpected mutations occur. You should get the flu shot anyways. Even if it is not a good match to the virus not circulating, the vaccine helps ease the severity and duration of symptoms if you come down with the flu. Studies show that for children, a flu shot can significantly reduce the risk of dying from the flu. High-dose vaccines are recommended for the elderly, who are exceptionally vulnerable. Basic precautions may spare you from days in bed. As much as possible, avoid people who are sick. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. If you are sick, cover your cough and stay home from work or school. Don’t mistake flu symptoms for a common cold. The main signs of the flu are fever and body aches that accompany cough and congestion. If you feel you are having trouble breathing, or if your fever cannot be controlled with Tylenol or Advil, check with your doctor immediately. Tamiflu is often prescribed. But it’s effectiveness is in question and it is usually very costly.
People use wheelchairs for many different reasons. Wheelchairs enable freedom of mobility to many people. If you are interacting with a wheelchair user for the first time, it can be difficult to know how to act. You don’t want to accidentally offend someone, but at the same time, you want to be helpful and understanding. The most important thing to remember is people who use wheelchairs are no different from you. Here are a few tips to help make sure you are respectful to those using a wheelchair. Avoid making presumptions about their abilities. Being in a wheelchair does not mean the person is paralyzed or incapable of taking any steps. Some people only use wheelchairs because they can’t stand for extended periods of time, or have a walking restriction problem. If you are curious, it is far better to ask than to assume. Ask in a manner that the person can decline, if they so choose. For example, “Do you mind my asking why you use a wheelchair?” Only ask a wheelchair user why, once you’ve become familiar with them. This is not an appropriate question to ask a stranger. Speak directly to a person using a wheelchair. If a person is in a wheelchair and is accompanied by someone else, involve that person in the conversation, but do not ignore the person in the wheelchair. Do not assume that the person in the wheelchair can’t speak for themselves. If you are in a long conversation, sit down. It is easier for everyone if you can look at each other in the eyes. Ask permission before touching the user or their wheelchair. Patting or leaning on the chair may be interpreted as disrespectful. The person may be using a wheelchair because of an injury, so your touch may be painful. Treat the wheelchair as an extension of a person’s body. If you wouldn’t normally touch someone’s shoulder, then don’t put your hand on their wheelchair. Always respect another person’s personal space. CSCSO wants to help bridge the gap between those with and without disabilities. We provide quality disability advocacy to our community. Reach out to us today if we can provide services for you or someone you know.
Being a caregiver is hard work. Everyday, there is a new obstacle to face and overcome. Here are five tips and considerations to be more effective to make your role a little easier. Knowledge is power. Realize there are many opportunities for mistakes along the way: by you, your doctor, the pharmacy, the hospital, or the lab. We are all human. Being aware that you may not understand as well as you think you do, or that doctors make mistakes, can help you be the best caregiver you can be. Remember that knowledge is power. Avoid the temptation to bury your head in the sand! Be involved. It is vital that you are fully engaged in the process. Don’t just sit back and assume someone else will manage things for you. You must be the captain of the ship. Effective communication between the patient, caregiver and physician leads to better outcomes. Be prepared and stay organized. Doctors are often rushed seeing numerous patients in time limited spots. Being organized is vital to an efficient visit. Have a folder to keep track of your questions, forms, medications, recommendations and test results. Always bring patient medical records with you, along with insurance or Medicare information. Pay close attention to all medications. Medication is often a critical component of a treatment plan, yet so many struggles to follow medication regiments. Not following instructions, not completing a medicine or taking wrong dosage, can lead to adverse health effects and often, new problems for the patient and the caregiver. Talk to the pharmacist if you have questions, use pill organizers to create a system, and always carry a full list of medications the patient is currently taking. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay connected with family and friends, as you continue your role as a caregiver. Think about your needs and reach out to your community. Resist the urge to become isolated or think you can do this alone. CSCSO can help with any advice or needs that you may have. We provide disability support and provide a community for which people can thrive.