Monthly Archives: May 2022

Myths About MRSA Infections

MRSA Myth #1: Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus is a new Problem

This is simply not true. MRSA has been it a problem in the hospital environment for years. Microbial resistance first showed up shortly after the introduction of penicillin into mass use. The medical community has had a problem with resistant bacteria for a long time and it has known about it. Every hospital in the US has an Infection Control Coordinator whose job it is to monitor infection rates in these institutions. The MRSA antibiotic susceptibility rates (along with those of other known super bugs) are monitored with incredible accuracy because the hospital must know when an antibiotic isn’t working. It is important for an hospital to know when their antibiotic formulary choices are no longer effective.

MRSA Myth #2: MRSA Infections are not Deadly

If not identified quickly and treated appropriately, death from MRSA infection is a real possibility. It is important to have culture and susceptibility testing on the wound to be sure the antibiotic regimen is appropriate. This test procedure takes about 48-72 hours. This testing will identify what type of organism is causing the infection and determine the appropriate course of antibiotic treatment. The worst treatment is the antibiotic treatment that will not work. It is a terrible costly waste of precious time and money.

MRSA Myth #3: MRSA is Transmitted by person-to-person contact.

Yes, this is one mechanism of   transmission  from patient to patient, and as it may be the primary means acquiring a MRSA infection, this fact underscores the need for diligent hand washing by anyone in contact with hospital patients. What is not often addressed is that MRSA can also be contracted from equipment used in the hospital and also from the environment.

MRSA Myth #4: MRSA is the only Resistant organism

Not true! Methicillin resistant staph aureus is the organism that has gotten the recent press coverage, but there are a number of other multiply-resistant microorganisms out there. For instance, the organism that causes TB has developed resistance which is well documented. Beyond these, there are a number of other super bugs we should all be concerned about.

MRSA Myth #5: MRSA Infections are limited to Humans

Believe it or not, MRSA can infect animals, too. In addition to person-to-person  transmission , MRSA infections can also be transmitted from person-to-animal. MRSA infections have been found in dogs and cats and other animals. The presence of MRSA in animals is manifested in the same way as human infection. We should be concerned about the health and safety of our pets, too.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.

Multi-Functional PACS Workstations

Digitizing medical imaging has changed the way medical facilities and hospitals function. Gone are the days of having to purchase film and costly developing chemicals for film images. With the advent of the DICOM digital image format, medical imaging was made possible. Today many medical offices utilize the flexibility that comes from PACS workstations and web-based PACS.

Storage of digital medical images is of vital importance, especially in light of medical facilities and hospitals needing to stay within HIPPA compliance. A PACS server helps to make this aspect of medical facility administration easier. A server takes up infinitely less space than hard copy film images do, plus it requires no physical maintenance of records. Everyone authorized to have access to the PACS server can set up their workstations to automatically send digital studies directly to the server, or to an offsite server that can be used for disaster recovery as needed, or copy the digital images to a CD or DVD.

With a web-based PACS, your medical facility and imaging center can save money while offering physicians greater flexibility in its use and overall better patient care. Doctors can log onto your local-area network, wide-area network, or from offsite by utilizing a virtual private network. Your medical offices will reduce operating costs because you will not need software for each workstation, and because it is web-based, physicians can access the digital medical images they need day or night in order to provide patients with excellent care.

Since a PACS system can also serve as a digital viewer, you will want to invest in a quality, high-resolution medical-grade PACS monitor. Monitors are available for medical use in a variety of sizes and digital image resolutions suitable for a variety of medical modalities. Ultrasounds, MRI, CT, as well as CR and DR digital x-rays can be viewed with a PACS monitor.

Medical facilities of all types will also save on consultations and referrals when using PACS workstations. Instead of using costly printed digital x-rays, you can send digital images stored in the DICOM format quickly and easily over the World Wide Web. This instantaneous   transmission  of patient medical digital images helps to offer them improved patient care while saving your hospital or medical office money.

PACS distributors and manufacturers can answer many questions you might have concerning PACS workstations; many offer live chat features on their informative websites for even more convenience.

Communication in Today’s Corrections (Part One)

Anyone that has ever worked as either a Police Officer or a Corrections Officer knows the following: It’s either brawn or brain that will get you through the day. They also know that you have to use both (on occasion) if you are going to be successful at your job.

Those of us in the Correctional Profession know that most of the time, and not all the time, the physical confrontations that we encounter are the result of our actions. Now, I understand that some people might disagree with this, but it’s a hard reality to face. Where do we go wrong that leads to this type of confrontation? Communication.

There are really just two ways in which we communicate with people: Verbal and Non-Verbal. Most of our communication (roughly 85-87%) is done through body language. We can all tell when someone is upset, happy, mad, angry, indifferent, you get the point. When our body language says one thing and our mouth says another we tend to run into problems. Inside of a correctional facility we do not have the luxury of firearms, Tasers, or any other type of intermediate weapons on a regular basis. If you do, trust me when I tell you that the rest of us are extremely jealous of you! What does that leave the rest of us? Our mouth/brain combination and our hands.

True, some people have lost that all important connection between their brains and their mouths (also known as verbal diarrhea) but for the most part, the rest of us still have it intact. As an instructor, I always ask my classes the same question: “What’s the difference between a Correctional Officer and an Offender?” As expected, the answers I get are varied: “We go home at the end of the day!” “We didn’t kill anyone!” “We didn’t rape anyone” and the list goes on. I then pause and ask question again.

By this point they are looking at me with confused looks on their faces. I reply back to them “Although you are correct that we didn’t rape or kill anyone, and we do go home at the end of the day, the only difference between them and us is that they got caught and we didn’t.” I then go on to ask “Who in this classroom has never, in their entire life, done anything that someone is not currently doing time in a local, county, state, or federal correctional facility?” No hands go up….

Now keep in mind that I said “never, in their entire life, done anything…” We all have. Whether it was steal something as a kid or adult (office supplies anyone?) it’s still larceny. Got home after going out with friends and saying “I shouldn’t have driven home!” (We’ve heard the slogan “Buzzed driving is drunk driving”) You get the point.

Now that we have established that they are just like us, let’s establish another all important fact: Not everyone that is incarcerated will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. They are going to get out and become our neighbors.

Correctional Departments throughout the country have moved their old way of doing business into the modern era: Rehabilitation and Re-Integration. If we look their Mission Statements, we will likely see a common theme: Public Safety, Pro-social behavior, Re-integration and rehabilitation.

In order to effectively re-integrate and rehabilitate, we must do one thing: Communicate. Communication in a correctional facility can be broken down into 4 main categories:

1. No communication

2. Operational Communication

3. Human-Respectful Communication

4. Cognitive Reflective Communication

No Communication

Easy enough: we don’t talk, they don’t talk, we point, they do as told and we go on our merry way. Officers are separated from the offenders and there is almost no interaction.

Operational Communication

We say the bare minimum in order to get the job done and maintain control (“Come here!” “Go there!” “Chow time” “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” etc, etc, etc). Although there is still a separation between Officers and Offenders, there is more interaction than there is with no communication.

Human-Respectful Communication

This involves talking to offenders like a person, just like you would to anybody else you meet in public. Pro-social communication is effectively done at this stage. Although the use of “please” and “thank you” towards an offender would insult many Correctional Officers, it is part of being respectful and communicating effectively within a correctional facility. (More on this in Communication in Today’s Corrections Part Two).

Cognitive Reflective Communication

This is THE hardest form of communication to achieve. It involves a person to be willing to think about, and change, their behavior, thought process, and accept the consequences of their actions. And what’s the thing most of us hate the most? Change! And that is the reason why it’s the hardest form of communication/thought process that we have.

Once we learn how to communicate effectively, we can reduce the amount of problems that we face on the job every day and increase our “safety factor” exponentially. The proof is in the pudding…

Ring Worm

Ringworm, also termed tinea corporis, is an infectious skin disease caused by mold-like fungi called Dermatophytes. This disease usually transmits through direct contact with ringworm-infected animals or with humans by sharing combs, clothing or by touching infected areas. Despite its name, there are no worms involved at any phase of the ringworm process. It used to be believed that a worm caused or was a symptom of ringworm, but now people know better. However, the name stuck.

The common symptoms for ringworms are itching, burning, dryness, or circular flaky rashes on the skin. Though, in the case of animals, the primary symptom is temporary hair loss in affected areas, itching or scratchiness in a specific body part.

A primary cause of ringworm is direct contact with infected animals or humans.

Ringworm is common among pets especially dogs and cats, who carry this disease from contaminated soil, kennels or from rodent burrows.

Ringworm thrives in moist conditions and commonly affects the scalp, toes, feet, thighs and genital area. Prevention requires that these areas be kept dry and clean to avoid infection, and pets should have regular veterinary checkups.

Ringworm is easily curable and there are several treatments available. At the first sign, see your doctor who can prescribe mediation to treat and cure ringworm within 2-3 weeks. Ringworm may not show up right away upon the time of contraction. In other words, it can exist as a contagious disease for a time before it can be detected. So do not blame others if their ringworm shows up before yours; you may have been the carrier in the first place!

Have You Ever Heard of Viral Marketing?

Viral Marketing is the spread of a word from one person to many others on a quick basis similar to a virus by an infected patient to other people surrounding him/her. It’s a new form of informal advertising by passing along a message or making other people aware about a product or a service just by talking about it.

The name viral is derived from the image of a person being infected with the marketing message, then spreading it to friends like a virus. The major difference, however, is that the customer voluntarily sends the message to others.

Viral Marketing messages include ads for goods and services, hyperlinked promotions that take someone immediately to a website, online newsletters and various games. Statistics indicate that 81 percent of recipients who receive a viral marketing message pass it along to another person. Almost 50 percent pass it along to two or more people.

The marketing message can be more deliberate such as when an individual recommends something to a friend. It can also be transmitted passively, when the message is simply attached to an email. Viral Marketing allows a firm to gain rapid product awareness at a low cost.

The main advantage of implementing viral marketing technique is getting fast and effective results by using this technique widely on the Internet. This gives a better exposure to the website as well as its owner and make other people aware of its existence. It also helps in conveying the desired message to a larger audience therefore building a good reputation for both the company/website and the owner.

Another benefit is that the more popularity the website gain, the bigger number of webmasters it will attract who will be willing either in exchanging links or just placing inbound links. This will definitely increase the value of the website by having external links which will ultimately result in improving its page rank with search engines.

The number of visitors to the website will also rise on a regular basis as it gains popularity and search engine ranking. The website owner will really benefit from the high volume targeted traffic that is going to blow his or her website fame and shoot up his or her revenue. Therefore, I can not emphasize more on the importance of viral marketing in boosting the Internet Marketing industry these days.

Blue Marble, a viral marketing company, created a program for Scope mouth wash. Consumers were able to send a customized, animated e-mail – kiss – to their friends. The attached marketing message reinforced the brand message that Scope brings people – kissably close. People who received the e-mail kiss could then forward the message to someone else. Scope’s tracking technology indicated most did forward the message.

The term – viral – may connote the negative image of a computer virus. Consequently, More concern should be shown when offering this program to a certain company. Company leaders may want to find some other term to describe the technique to the general public so that no undue suspicion or fear arises.

How to Calculate Window Tint Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

Window tinting films are measured in visible light transmission levels (or VLT). This means that when we discuss a particular film, be it for fitting to a car or any other application, we normally refer to it with it’s VLT value. VLT is measured in percentage ( % ), so if you hear about a tint product being referred to as a percentage, it is the VLT that defines that percentage value.

For example, a tinting film referred to as Charcoal 5% is a charcoal coloured tint with a VLT of 5% and likewise a film referred to as green 50% is a green coloured tint film with a VLT of 50%. But what does the number actually mean?

Well, in simple terms the VLT value is the percentage of visible light that will be allowed to travel through the window tinting film from the exterior face side of the film to the interior side. This means that a 5% film will only allow 5% light travel through and a 70% film will allow 70% light to travel. In effect, this means that lower VLT films will appear darker. For instance, it is normally 5% tints that we will see on limousines for privacy.

So, fitting a 5% tint to a window will allow 5% light to travel through the glass from outside to inside, right? NO! Because we need to take into consideration the actual VLT of the window before the tint is even installed. There is no such thing as a piece of glass, no matter how clear it appears, with a VLT of 100%. This is because glass naturally filters out a little bit of visible light.

Lets look at car window tinting as this is one area where we speak of VLT often due to the fact that many countries have laws in place limiting how dark car windows should be tinted. Most modern cars come from factory with windows reading a VLT somewhere between 72% and 78%, depending on manufacturer, model and country. Say, our example car’s windows read at 72% and we add a 50% window tinting film, what is the new and final VLT of our car’s windows after installation?

The sum is very simple: V1 x V2 = V3 (Where V1 is the original VLT of the glass before tinting, V2 is the VLT of the window tinting film and V3 is the final VLT value of the glass with tint film applied).

Our car’s windows original VLT = 72% and the tint = 50 %, thus V1 = 72 and V2 = 50

The sum is 72 x 0.50 giving us 36, which we will express as a percentage. So a window with an original VLT of 72% will then have a VLT of 36% after application of a 50% film.