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Outdoor Safety

  • Can insect repellents be used by pregnant or nursing women?

    BUGXThe CDC says that most repellents can be used on children aged >2 months. Protect infants aged <2 months from mosquitoes by using an infant carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit. Products containing OLE specify that they should not be used on children aged <3 years. Other than the safety tips listed above, EPA does not recommend any additional precautions for using registered repellents on children or on pregnant or lactating women.

    Industry leaders say Pregnant or lactating women should use the physical barriers described above to prevent contact with ticks. They may also consider having their OUTER clothing treated with Ben's® Clothing and Gear according to the label instructions. Ben's® Clothing and Gear provides 2 weeks of protection to clothing and gear. Other than the routine precautions, because there are too few studies conducted to examine the effects on infants of a mothers transdermal exposure to insect repellents, the EPA does not recommend specific precautions for using registered repellents on pregnant or lactating women. We recommend that you contact your physician with questions.

    pregnancy-buttonOther Pregnancy-related Topics:

  • Algae update

    AlgaeWe warned of algae dangers in our article Sun means water time – Algae kills… be careful right before news of disastrous algae issues arose in Florida. Now the CDC shares more:

    habs-environment-img HAB in downtown Portland, Oregon. Credit: Photo courtesy of the Oregon Public Health.
  • Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants

    poison-oak-ivy-sumacWe've shared a lot about Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, and Poison Oak in our articles Poisonous Plants and Great Outdoors Month.

    Now, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reminds us that Poison ivy and other poisonous plants are a hazard all year round.

    The FDA has some tips for preventing and treating the itchy rash and blisters. Read the Consumer Update to learn more, and watch the video below to learn what poison ivy, oak, and sumac plants look like so you can avoid them.

    poison-oak-ivy-sumac-wildIvy Barriers

    Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac Pre-Contact Solution

    Itch Creams & Cleansers

    Ivarest Itch Relief Cream, Bite Relief Cream, Tecnu Oak-N-Ivy Skin Cleanser, Hydrocortisone Cream & various Insect Sting Relievers.

  • Preventing More Deaths During a National Heat Wave

    OSHA reaches out (FEMA is concerned)... With more than 110 million Americans exposed to excessive temperatures this week ? heat indexes are expected to be above 90 degrees in almost all 48 continental states ? the Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges employers to protect workers who may be exposed to extreme heat while working outdoors or in hot environmentsheat_main1

    What can you do to "beat the Heat"?

    ¤  Heat Stressheat
    ¤  Heat Alerts
    ¤  BeatTheHeat
    ¤  Beat The Heat with the FEMA App
    ¤  Recognizing and Treating Heat Exhaustion
    ¤  Heatstroke deaths are 100 percent preventable
    ¤  Over 650 people die each year from exposure to extreme heat

    It can be a matter of life and death.

    Just this past Friday, a 23-year-old landscape employee working in direct sunlight near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, became overheated around 4 p.m. when the heat index was near 110 degrees. He had been chipping limbs, stacking brush and flagging traffic for hours that day. He was rushed to the hospital with a core body temperature of 108 degrees and died the following day from heat-related illness. July 22 was only his fourth day on the job.

    What makes his death even more tragic is that it was entirely preventable. Heat-related deaths can be avoided if employers use commonsense precautions, and if they and their employees understand the warning signs of heat illness.

    The symptoms of heat exhaustion: dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, weakness, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fast heartbeat. The symptoms of heat stroke: red, hot, dry skin; high temperature; confusion; convulsions, fainting.

    During this heat wave, OSHA urges employers to plan additional precautions to reduce the risks of heat exposure. Those steps include acclimating workers to the hot environments, providing frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade.

    One of the most common problems identified in heat-related deaths and illness of workers is the lack of an employer-run heat prevention and acclimatization program. Steps to prevent heat illness include:

    • Drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
    • Resting in the shade to cool down.
    • Wearing a hat and light-colored clothing.
    • Learning the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
    • Keeping an eye on fellow workers.
    • Getting used to heat with an “easy does it” approach on the first days of work during hot spells.

    Some people assume that a worker is not at risk for heat stroke if they are still sweating. This is not true. You can be sweating and still have heat stroke. A common symptom of heat stroke is mental changes, such as confusion or irritability. Heat stroke is an emergency. Employees should know to call 911 and alert a supervisor as quickly as possible if there is any suggestion of heat stroke.

    To learn more about the symptoms of heat stress see OSHA’s Heat Stress Quick Card. The risk of heat stress increases for workers 65 and older, for those who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure or take medications.

    Also remember that working in full sunlight, as the Missouri landscaper was doing, can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. So that means if the temperature is 95 degrees, it will feel like 110 in direct sunlight. Employers and workers can track the heat index at their work site using OSHA’s free Heat Safety Tool app, available for iPhone and Android devices.


    Water. Rest. Shade.

    And don’t forget those employed in hot indoor environments, such as bakeries, warehouses and boiler rooms. They are also at risk when temperatures rise.

    Each year, thousands of workers suffer the effects of heat exposure. Some even die from it. Let’s weather the summer heat with extra water, rest and shade and make sure each worker returns home safely.

  • Beat The Heat with the FEMA App

    Ready-ListIt's hot across the U.S. and folks are out traveling for summer break. Download the FEMA app for free on the App Store and Google Play to stay cool and know ahead of time when extreme heat and other severe weather is on the way. Add up to five locations to include your upcoming travel destinations, and watch over family and friends out-of-town. The FEMA app also provides other safety tips to help you stay prepared:

    • What to pack in an emergency kit with an interactive checklist.
    • What to do to stay safe before, during, after each type of emergency.
    • Where to go with directions to open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person if disaster strikes.

    ¤  Heat Stress
    ¤  Heat Alerts
    ¤  BeatTheHeat
    ¤  Recognizing and Treating Heat Exhaustion
    ¤  Heatstroke deaths are 100 percent preventable
    ¤  Over 650 people die each year from exposure to extreme heat


  • Sun means water time - Algae kills... be careful

    Heading to the lake? Watch out for harmful algal blooms (HABs)

    Ever wonder why the water looks red? While it can happen in coastal water as well, algal blooms are a frequent hazard in lakes and ponds - especially in warm summer weather.Algae

    Algal Bloom can just make water smelly and ugly, or it can become harmful to the human and other animal life as well as the environment and local ecosystem. If people and animals are exposed to the toxins produced by HABs through water, food, or air they may experience symptoms that can range from mild to severe. These symptoms may affect the skin, stomach and intestines, lungs, and nervous system.

    Algae are plant-like organisms that come in a variety of shapes and sizes – ranging from microscopic to large seaweed that may be over 100 feet long. Algae are found all over the planet, and can live in sea water, fresh water, and brackish water (a combination of fresh and sea water). Algae are vitally important building blocks of the food chain and ecosystem.

    Algal blooms occur when there are overgrowths of algae, including green, brown, or red microalgae, or cyanobacteria that are commonly referred to as blue-green algae.

    Not all algal blooms are harmful; however, when there is fast growth of algae and cyanobacteria that can harm people, animals and the environment, they are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs can produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals. The algae and cyanobacteria also reduce the levels of oxygen in the water when they decompose, and these lower oxygen levels may kill other plants and animals in the water.

    Learn more in the CDC article: Danger in the Water: When Algae Becomes Toxic

  • Circumnavigating the Globe

    Slocum-2On this day in 1898, Joshua Slocum sailed into Newport, Rhode Island, completing the first single-handed circumnavigation of the world. Slocum's return went almost unnoticed, the Spanish-American War having just begun two months before, dominated the headlines. The voyage, a distance of more than 46,000 miles aboard a 36 foot oyster boat he rebuilt named
    Spray, was later detailed in the book, "Sailing Alone Around the World". In later life, Slocum lectured and sold books wherever he could, but

    by 1909 his funds were running low and he set sail for the West Indies with hopes for another book deal. He was never heard from again and is suspected to have capsized. Despite being an experienced sailor, he had never learned to swim, considering it a useless skill.

    Boat & Marine First Aid Kits Boat & Marine First Aid Kits

    A Captain Joshua SlocumTimeline:

    • Born February 20, 1844, in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, by the Bay of Fundy.
    • Ran away at age of 14 to be a cook on a fishing schooner, but returned home.
    • Left home for good at 16 (1860) when his mother died, shipped as ordinary seaman on deep-water sailing ships, merchant vessels to Europe and the U.S.
    • Obtained his first command on the California coast in 1869, and sailed for 13 years out of San Francisco to China, Australia, the Spice Islands, and Japan.
    • Married an American girl, Virginia Albertina Walker, on January 31, 1871, at Sydney, Australia.
    • Built a steamer for a British architect in Subic Bay, P.I., in 1874.
    • Bought shares in and commanded the three-skysailyard ship Northern Light in 1882, considered at the time by many to be the finest American ship afloat.
    • Sold the Northern Light and bought the bark Aquidneck in 1884. In the same year, his wife Virginia died (July 25) and was buried in Buenos Aires.
    • Married Henrietta M. Elliott ("Hettie") in 1886.Slocum-3
    • Made several voyages on the Aquidneck before she was lost in 1887 on a sand bank off the coast of Brazil.
    • The Libergade, a 35-foot sailing canoe, built after the stranding; Slocum sails with Hettie and his oldest and youngest sons to Washington, D.C., 5000 miles away.
    • Voyage of the Liberdade published in 1890 at Slocum's expense.
    • In 1892, a friend, Captain Eben Pierce, offers Slocum a ship that "wants some repairs" Slocum goes to Fairhaven, MA to find that the "ship" is a rotting old oyster sloop propped up in a field. It is the Spray.
    • Slocum prints Voyage of the Destroyer from New York to Brazil in 1893, again at his own expense.
    • Slocum departs from Boston Harbor, MA on his famous circumnavigation on April 24, 1895, at the age of 51, in the rebuilt 37-foot sloop Spray. Click for Map of his JourneySlocum
    • Slocum returns, sailing into Newport, RI, on June 27, 1898 in his tiny sloop Spray and after single-handedly sailing around the world , a passage of 46,000 miles. This historic achievement made him the patron saint of small-boat voyagers, navigators and adventurers all over the world.
    • Sailing Alone Around The World published in book form in 1900 by The Century Company. It describes his experiences on this adventurous voyage and became an instant best seller. It has been translated into many languages, and is still in print today.
    • Slocum buys first home on land in 1902, a farm on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
    • Slocum sails each winter to the tropics, 1905 - 1906, returning to New England in the summer.
    • On November 14th of 1909, at the age of 65, he set out on another lone voyage to South America leaving from Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, but was never heard from again.

    Boat, Marine & Fishing First Aid Kits

    First Aid Store offers Name Brand Fishing and Boat / Marine First Aid Kits for Life Boat and on the water injuries - see our Pitt Stop packs, and our Maritime OSHA regulations guides, too!
  • Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2016

    Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Swimming week is coming up!


    Just in time to be ready for Memorial Day Weekend, Healthy and Safe Swimming Week will feature swimming pool safety tips, infographics, swimming safety ideas, pool water information and more.

    Swim season is right around the corner, and so is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (May 23-29). Make this summer the healthiest swim season yet!

  • Neptune's Guide to Beachin' Water Safety

    Springtime and Sunshine! Heading to the water?

    Whether poolside or natural water - it's fun, but only when you play it safe!

    Here are Neptune's favorite posts on Swimming Pool, Water, and Beach Safety so you can brush up and dive in to water fun...

  • Poisonous Plants

    We've talked about poison ivy a but in the past, but nettles, sumac, and poison oak and ivy are pretty serious irritations, and with many heading out to enjoy nature this Spring we thought some refresher information on how to avoid and treat contact with poisonous plants would be timely.

    Before delving into the woods, protect yourself with boots and long pants. Be sure your outdoor first aid kit is stocked with both Ivy Barriers (which you should apply before heading out on a hike) and Itch Creams & Cleansers to treat any contact.

    Urushiol, the oil substance found  in poison oak, ivy and sumac (also in Mangoes and the Lacquer Tree)  is pernicious, and it will spread to unaffected areas and to a caregiver without proper cleansing and protection.

    First Aid Treatment for areas affected by poisonous plants....

    Barriers and Cleansers help prevent and treat dermatitis caused by urushiol from Poison Oak, Poison Ivy & Poison Sumac Barriers and Cleansers help prevent and treat dermatitis caused by urushiol from Poison Oak, Poison Ivy & Poison Sumac

    What to look for:

    • Skin irritation which may cause itching or redness.
    • Signs of infection which can occur from skin breaks due to scratching. Signs would include redness, pus, pain and/or fever.

    What to do:

    • Get permission to give care before touching another person.
    • Protect yourself with gloves before contact.
    • Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
    • If condition gets worse or affects large areas of the body or face, see a health care provider.

    The plant oil, urushiol, is extremely stable and will stay active for many years in the right conditions. After treating the person affected by the poisonous contact, thoroughly wash (or discard) all boots and clothing.

    Since urushiol oil is an oil, to remove it from items like clothing or shovels or pavement; apply either a solvent or a soap to remove the oil or provide sufficient force with water pressure.
    Examples of a solvent are things like mineral spirits, rubbing alcohol, gasoline, lighter fluid, witch hazel, and many other items found in the treatment section. An example of a solvent-based product in the poison ivy arena is Tecnu which contains mineral spirits.  (We hop it is obvious, but don't use gasoline, lighter fluid, or anything harmful in-of-itself on your skin - but these may be used for boots, equipment, etc.)

    Urushiol Oil and Bonding to the Skin

    Urushiol oil penetrates the top layer of skin and binds to cells deep in the epidermis. Any solvent or soap will remove urushiol oil from the skin prior to bonding. Bonding takes place in as little as 3 minutes, but on average according to most literature is 30 minutes.

    Seek medical advice is good cleansing with an appropriate product does not solve the contact dermatitis.


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