CDC advises preparation for MERS-CoV

Kimberly V. Cheramie, MSN, RN-BC

With two reported cases of MERS in the United States, there is a heightened awareness in testing and caring for those patients who present with fever and pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.  The CDC is advising health care facilities to prepare for new and emerging infectious disease threats such as MERS-CoV.

For healthcare providers, the CDC and Prevention recommend standard, contact and airborne precautions for the hospitalized patient with known or suspected MERS-CoV infection. The precautions focus on the use of PPE, source control, and environmental infection control measures

Western Schools’ continuing education course Infection Prevention for Healthcare Professionals provides the healthcare workers with timely information on disease transmission, use of barrier and other control mechanisms for protection, and appropriate cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization techniques used to ensure that safe patient care is provided and the spread of infectious diseases are controlled.

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National Hepatitis Testing Day

Today is National Hepatitis Testing Day. Western Schools’ course, Hepatitis C: The Silent Killer, provides an overview of the history of the virus, its presentation and the methods available to diagnose and monitor its progression. Educate your patients and reduce risk of exposure on the job.

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Study finds that Suicidal Tendencies Are Evident Before Deployment

A study published in the New York Times addressed a study on men and women in the Army who showed signs of suicidal tendencies before they enlisted. The study showed that one out of ten soldiers proved to have, “intermittent explosive disorder” which is a combination of mood disorders and stresses of deployment which can possibly increase suicidal urges.

The article also discusses better ways to identify these tendencies before deployment, such as providing services to screen individuals directly after enlistment so that they can be offered the support that they need.

For more information on identifying and helping individuals with suicide risk, check out our course Identifying and Assessing Suicide Risk in Adults, which examines various methods for assessing suicide danger.


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Sleep Deprivation Due to …Electronic Devices?

In a recent article posted on, experts from various sources touched upon electronic devices and the toll they can take on ones sleep. According to the article, all we need for a good night’s sleep is to shut any electronic down at least 1 hour before bedtime! The reason for this is because when we use anything that has a “glow” or “sound” the brain actually registers that stimulation, causing melatonin – the hormone in the brain that triggers sleep- to delay.

Sure, giving oneself an hour without any type of electronic stimulation sounds easy enough to do, right?  Wrong. I know I’m not the only one who uses their cell phone as an alarm clock or their kindle to read at night before bedtime.

This brought me to another question: What else are we supposed to do besides watch tv, read emails or browse the web? After doing some research, I have found a few steps that can be taken to occupy an hour of time before bed that avoids anything electronic:

  1. Take a hot bath or shower – this will relax the body and the mind.
  2. Read a real book – put down the kindle or the tablet and indulge in a paperback story.
  3. Do yoga – this does wonders for relaxation.

Need some more tips? Our course, Psychiatric Nursing: Current Trends in Diagnosis and Treatment, Updated 2nd Edition, provides some insight on current treatment modalities, medications and therapeutic communication skills for various disorders, including sleeping disorders.


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Top 5 Must Have Phone Apps for Nurses

In a 2012 study, 71% of nurses were using their smartphones for their profession. It is becoming more apparent that medical smartphone apps can easily and quickly help with the functionality of every day operations in a medical practice.

After viewing countless must-have phone apps for nursing, we finally narrowed down our top 5 picks as we believe these basic apps best suit the needs of every nurse professional.

  1. Voalte One – This app was ranked one of Apple’s Top 11 picks for nursing apps. It is designed to allow communication to flow within your hospital or place of work. The unique feature of this app is that your contacts are based on a user directory from your work, meaning you have everyone’s contact information at your fingertips. This app can be used for voice, text messages, and alarms.
  2. PatientTouch – Allowing you to spend more time directly with your patients, this app displays customer data in real time. Think of it as an electronic patient chart, with all of their information at your fingertips safely stored in one place.
  3. Nursing Essentials – We saw this app on multiple lists for nursing apps. This extremely popular app provides nurses with various tools and information regarding immunizations, assessment, medications, and more!
  4. Lexicomp – This app is a quick and easy resource for clinical and drug information, and pertains to various healthcare professionals.
  5. MedScape WebMD – As one of the most downloaded medical applications, this app provides everything from symptom information to medical news.

Sources: Mobi Health News, Scrubs Magazine, Health E Careers

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Could Cold Medication Help Spread the Flu?

An article from NBC News Heath addresses a study that was done at Canada’s McMaster University that researched the affects that cold medication’s had on the spread of influenza. As a result, the study’s research representative made it clear that though cold medications can help ease symptoms, the numbers showed that they can leave your flu lingering. Additionally, the researcher added that although cold medications can make people can feel better, they lead people to think they are no longer infectious – which is not the case.

Most of us probably don’t question whether or not cold medication has worked or if it is just masking our symptoms. Instead, we let life go on with the assumption that we are better since we are feeling that way. According to this article, that assumption can increase the spreading of viruses such as the flu.

So what other options do we have to prevent ourselves from spreading flu-like viruses? Our course, Influenza:  A Vaccine-Preventable Disease offers great insight on everything from the cause of the flu to the various treatments for the flu.  View it here:

Source: NBCNewsHealth

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Regular Soap & Water, or Antibacterial Soap?

When I think of the word “antibacterial” I immediately think: clean, sanitized, germ-free. The word seems to be everywhere – on your hand soaps, dish soaps, hand sanitizer, house-hold cleaning products…the list goes on. We see it everywhere, but is it the best option for your hands?

According to an article from Health, the FDA is asking companies to prove that their antibacterial hand products are effective and safe for consumers. The FDA claims that, “antibacterial soaps don’t seem to add any germ-killing power to plain old soap and water and in fact may have some health risks.” On the other hand, the article also claims that the American Cleaning Institute has given the FDA numerous studies to show that the main ingredient in antibacterial products (Triclosan) is effective and safe for consumer use.

So, which option do you choose for your hands… plain soap and water, or antibacterial products such as hand sanitizer? When struggling to find the answer for myself, I turned to our Western Schools Facebook page to ask fans which option they would go with. To my surprise, all commenters strongly supported plain soap and water.

All-in-all, whether we cleanse our hands with soap and water or antibacterial products, we are at least trying to reduce the spread of harmful germs and to me the end result is all that matters.

Want to voice your comments? Post them on Western Schools Facebook Page!


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High Anxiety, High Stroke Risk?

Feeling anxious from time to time is somewhat of a “norm” in our society. Big job interview coming up? Attending a new school? Obviously, it is normal to feel anxious when you do not know what to expect from a situation. But when does normal anxiety become not normal?

According to an article from TODAY Health, a new study claims that an increasing rate of anxiety can actually trigger a stroke. After reading this article, I needed to know: how much anxiety is too much for one person to potentially put you at risk? According to WebMD, your body knows when anxiety is weighing you down. It can derive from a variety of complications. WebMD also states that anxiety can be considered “too much” when it starts to interfere with your normal, everyday activities.

With that said, I then was curious as to what can be done to prevent having a stroke from something such as having extreme anxiety. In my search, I have found that simple things such as prioritizing your ability to control situations and understanding that some situations are just uncontrollable. There are also ways to prevent stroke through prescribed medications. To learn more about different ways to prevent stroke, you can purchase our course, “Anticoagulant Antiplatelet and Thrombolytic Medications: Nursing Implications for Patient Management” which covers the prevention and management various medical conditions, such as stroke. Find it here:


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Cold & Flu – Preventable?

As we get further into the winter, we become more and more prone to catching that good old common cold that can sometimes last for weeks, or even worse, the flu. Unless you live in a bubble and refrain from human interaction, you will most likely get at least one of the two in your lifetime.

Many of us follow the standard precautions to “reject” infectious germs. We wash our hands often throughout the day, use hand sanitizer, clean our workspace… sometimes we may even use a paper towel to open public bathroom doors In a recent article from, people of various backgrounds posted “rituals” in which they follow in order to prevent the cold or flu. Most are pretty standard, but some of them we found amusing and surprising.

The most surprising on this list is the lack of interest in being vaccinated – aka getting your flu shot! Advertisements for the flu shot are hung at every minute-clinic and doctors office. Although it may not fight your chances of catching a cold, it will decrease your chance of catching the flu. Our course, Influenza: A Vaccine-Preventable Disease, touches on the transmission of flu, treatment options, and provides vaccination recommendations and guidelines for nurses. If you want to learn more, explore through this course: and add the flu shot to your list of prevention during the cold and flu season!


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New Products Inspiring Tobacco Use

We’ve all seen and heard at least one horrifying truth about tobacco. As if preaching about the harms of tobacco from cigarette usage isn’t enough, tobacco companies have now introduced new tobacco products that have become very appealing to teens and middle-aged children. According to an article from NBC News titled, “E-cigs, hookahs gain new hold with middle, high school kids,” new products, such as electronic cigarettes and hookahs, have made their way into the market, mostly attracting a younger crowd. They are marketed as being appealing, conveniently available, and the thing that gets me the most is they are being described as, “safer alternatives.”

According to the Western Schools course, “Substance Abuse,” there is absolutely nothing “safe” about tobacco products, no matter your age. In fact, did you know that, “smoking and its associated illnesses decrease the life span of adults who smoke by 14 years”? This course explains everything from the prevalence of tobacco use in adults and adolescents to how to approach patients who are not willing to quit their use of tobacco. Find this course here: and learn more about the harms and stresses of tobacco (and other substance) abuse.

Want to read E-cigs, hookahs gain new hold with middle, high school kids? Find it here from

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