This message was originally a CSU Fullerton Great ShakeOut Message No. 6, sent to all CSUF faculty and staff on Sept. 16. I really try to bring brand new material to this blog every week, but the flu got the better of me and, honestly, my brain cells are on strike. Please enjoy, even if you have read this before...
I recently looked at my first aid supplies at home. The Power Puff Girl bandaids looked a little old, so I replaced them with Phineas and Ferb. I have to stay with the times at the very least. I was feeling pretty good, too, as I checked the expiration date on the OTC medications, and added other things my 92-year-old mother would need, such as LOTS more bandages and incontinent pads (sigh...), when it hit me. The most important thing in my first aid kit wouldn’t fit at all. That’s because that thing is me!
After playing in a soccer tournament all weekend, I was reminded by my muscles (loudly, I might add) that I am not as young as I used to be. Doing a push-up is nearly impossible and forget chin-ups – something that just a few years ago was a simple task. It’s not as though I could not do these things with a little time and effort. I just got busy, you know? Busy with work, busy with teenagers, busy with family. Too busy to keep myself as fit as I could be. So, if an emergency arose right now, what would I be capable of doing?
We respond to incidents often by reflex. We rush to help a child or an elderly person who has fallen. We’d grab our napkins to help sop the hot coffee from the person’s lap next to us. We do these things because we can.
Now let’s go to a much more serious situation. A 7.0-plus earthquake. Heavy things have fallen on people, a colleague needs help walking. What is in you – your personal first aid kit – that can help?
We all have limitations on what we can do and that range is quite large. But, what we should do is prepare ourselves to be in the best personal state possible in case a disaster or emergency occurs. We start taking care of ourselves and our family so we can handle a disaster, physically and mentally. Here is a list to help you assess yourself.
1. Don’t worry, be happy! (Sing it, Bobby!) Serious situations require a serious demeanor, but try to make all those other times a bit lighter. A positive attitude is actually a strength builder.
2. Eat better. No one loves chocolate cake more than I do, but that can be tempered with lots of fruits and vegetables.
3. Exercise more. We are not elite athletes, but there are probably things all of us can do, regardless of our personal limitations, to be in better shape and a little stronger. Walk more than drive. Bend your knees as often as you can to pick up something. Stretch your arms high over your head. Breathe deeply.
4. Avoid antibacterial soaps and cleaners. “WHAT? Don’t I need to kill those germs?” Yes, but regular soap is equally effective at killing bacteria and do not encourage antibiotic-resistant strains to flourish. Dr. Marcelo Tolmasky, Professor of Biology here at CSUF, has done extensive study on this growing problem (http://calstate.fullerton.edu/news/inside/2006/tomalsky.html). It cannot be stressed enough that antibacterial products should only be used in very specific situations, and that they often cause more problems with allergies and disease than they prevent. And in times of stress, we will be more susceptible to disease.
For all the other things for your First Aid Kit (the things that DO fit!), get some good ideas at http://prepare.fullerton.edu/GSOMsgs/7FirstAid.pdf, or from the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/services/hss/lifeline/fakit.html.
Good health to you all!