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Take Note – March 2009


Dangers of hospital cleaning products

A study of 3,650 healthcare workers, including more than 900 nurses, found a connection between asthma and the cleaning products and disinfectants used in hospitals. Specifically, the study revealed that nurses regularly exposed to these substances had a 72% higher chance of developing asthma than other healthcare colleagues. The study also found that nurses had a 57% higher chance of asthmalike symptoms.

According to the researchers, using environmentally friendly cleaning products and appropriate protection could reduce exposure to these dangerous substances.


New guidelines for type 2 diabetes
New recommendations for managing type 2 diabetes published in American Family Physician focus on three areas: lifestyle intervention, cardiovascular risk-factor management, and blood glucose level normalization in newly diagnosed patients. The lifestyle interventions include at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, a low-fat diet, and a weight-loss goal of 7% of baseline weight.

Testing two regimens for heart failure
Using brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels to guide therapy for heart failure has no advantage over using a symptom-guided approach. In the study that produced this conclusion, some 500 patients age 60 and older received treatment with one of two regimens for 18 months.
The symptom-guided regimen aimed to reduce symptoms to New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II or better. The BNP-guided regimen aimed to keep BNP levels below twice the upper limit of normal and reduce symptoms to NYHA class II or better.
The primary outcome measures (survival without hospitalization for any cause and quality-of-life scores) didn’t differ between the groups. Among those younger than age 75, however, BNP guidance had an advantage in overall survival and hospitalizations for heart failure.

Respiratory distress from a cough and cold remedy
The widely used cold and cough treatment Vicks® VapoRub® may cause respiratory distress in infants and small children, according to a study in Chest. Researchers say that the over-the-counter product may increase mucus production and airway inflammation. And in the small airways of infants and small children, mucus and inflammation can lead to respiratory distress, a medical emergency.

Keeping scrubs clean
In response to recent studies showing that scrubs can carry dangerous pathogens, Betsy McCaughey, head of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, says hospitals should return to the practice of laundering scrubs. Doing so would reduce the number of infections both inside and outside hospitals. According to McCaughey, one hospital in Bloomington, Indiana that started washing scrubs again and bans staff members from wearing scrubs outside the hospital has a near-zero rate of hospital-acquired infections.

Precise temperatures for fluid-warming cabinets
Fluid-warming cabinets from Enthermics now have a feature that ensures more accurate temperatures and significant labor savings. The new feature, called WarmWatch™, verifies that the cabinet reaches and maintains the set-point temperature and digitally documents the warmer’s temperature performance.

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