Archives for October 2014

Laser Safety Glasses: The Ugly Truth About Laser Radiation Exposure

Avoiding Eye Damage

In the time that it takes to blink an eye, laser radiation damage to the eye may have already occurred. Unprotected exposure to lasers can result in the development of cataracts or even a corneal burn, which can result in vision loss. If you are working with or around lasers, it is very important to understand the consequences of laser radiation exposure. We have decided to dedicate this post to educating you about laser beams and the safety precautions you should take when working around them.

Laser Beam Exposure

In addition to direct laser beam exposure, there are several other types of dangerous indirect laser beam exposures. Intra beam exposure occurs when the eye or skin is directly exposed to all or a part of the laser beam. It is also important to be careful of specular reflections. This is when the laser beam is reflected off mirror like surfaces. Reflections from flat mirror surfaces can be as harmful as exposure to a direct laser beam. Curved mirror surfaces decrease the intensity of the beam, but there is a larger area for possible laser radiation exposure. Diffuse reflections happen with surfaces that reflect the beam in many directions. Because the beam is reflected in so many directions, this exposure does not have the same power and energy of a direct beam. It is important to keep in mind that diffuse reflections are still harmful.

Protecting Your Eyes

The biggest risk with working around lasers is having any of these types of exposures enter the eye unprotected. In the human body, the eye is the most sensitive to light. When the eye is exposed to a laser beam, the lens in the eye focuses the beam into a tiny spot. This can actually burn the retina of the eye. At different wavelengths, lasers cause several types of eye injuries. Exposure to laser radiation with wavelengths that are less than 400 nanometers and greater than 1400 nanometers result in cataracts and burn injuries. This is because the eye absorbs this level of exposure through the cornea and lens. The most damaging wavelengths are between 400 and 1,400 nanometers, which results in the heating of the retina and can cause retinal burns. The image below shows which parts of the eye absorb the laser rays at different wavelengths.

Determine The Appropriate Protection

Fortunately, wearing laser safety glasses or goggles can protect the eyes from the risks that lasers pose. The U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration require staff to wear laser safety glasses or goggles when operating or around lasers that are Class 3b and Class 4. Class 3b lasers are lasers that powered from 5 to 500 milliwatts and Class 4 lasers have output powers of more than 500 milliwatts. These laser safety glasses and goggles provide protection from reflected laser light and direct beam exposure. Laser safety eyewear is available for different wavelength ranges and for specific types of lasers. It is recommended that you find out the class of the laser you are working with as well as the appropriate wavelength range to ensure the best possible protection.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to protect your eyes and yourself from the harmful effects of laser radiation. Remember, the damage done to the eyes from laser radiation exposure can be permanent!

What You Need To Know About Ultrasound Gels And Warmers

The Importance of Ultrasound Gels

Ultrasound gels are placed on a patient’s skin at the beginning of an ultrasound procedure or exam. Ultrasound gels serve several purposes including its use in a variety of procedures, treatments, and routine exams.

Ultrasound technology works by sending a pulse of high-frequency sound waves into the patient’s tissue using an ultrasound transducer or probe.  The ultrasound gel is placed on a patient’s skin and the transducer carefully glides the gel across the patient’s body. This device sends and receives sound waves which are transmitted to a computer screen for a sonographer to view. The computer screen monitor captures real-time imaging of the patient’s internal organs, also allowing for a screen shot image in case a printout is needed.

Conductive Medium

Ultrasound gels are considered a type of conductive medium used in a multitude of ultrasound diagnostic procedures and treatments. Ultrasound gel can be applied to many different areas of the body therefore being an essential tool in a variety of procedures, treatments and routine exams.

Different Gel Formulations

Ultrasound gels are available in different formulations and sizes. For example, the Aquasonic 100 Ultrasound Transmission Gel dispenser bottle is a favorite among many doctors offices and medical centers. This dispenser bottle is used and recommended by manufacturers of medical ultrasound equipment worldwide. The Aquasonic 100 gel formula is hypoallergenic, bacteriostatic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating.

Packaging Designed For Your Needs

The Aquasonic 100 Ultrasound Transmission Gel is available in 20g single-use packettes, 60g Doppler size tubes, 0.25 liter dispenser, 1 liter with dispenser cap, and 5 liter SONICPAC with refillable dispenser. A variety of ultrasound gels are available in refillable containers, dispenser caps and pumps to accommodate your medical setting.

Ultrasound Gel Warmers

An ultrasound gel warmer is a unit designed to keep ultrasound gel bottles at a warm temperature. Ultrasound gel warmers are primarily used to increase patient comfort. These ultrasound gel warmers are easy-to-use and come in a couple different configurations including single bottle and multi-bottle. Using a gel warmer will keep patients relaxed since cold ultrasound gel can cause discomfort for patients. These warmers are constructed of high-quality materials and are made for multiple uses.

Ultrasound gels and warmers are essential tools found in many hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices today. Still not sure which gel is right for you? Why not try a free sample to help you decide? Visit our ultrasound gels and warmers page and select the ultrasound gel that you would like to try and we’ll be in touch shortly.

 

 

Why Global Handwashing Day Is Important

Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia. Handwashing is a simple and inexpensive method of effectively removing germs from your hands. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on October 15 worldwide.

What is Global Handwashing Day?

Starting in 2008, “Global Handwashing Day is a way to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country, and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.” Founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, Global Handwashing Day encourages school children, teachers, and families to get involved.

Did You Know?

There are 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of your skin right now. Our hands spread germs; people frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it – spreading germs that can make us sick.

“Handwashing with soap is one of the cheapest, most effective ‘vaccines’ against viral diseases, from the seasonal flu, to the common cold,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.

Are You Washing Your Hands Long Enough?

Take a look at our helpful video on proper handwashing to learn more.

Most people do not wash their hands long enough. It is recommended that you wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds to properly remove germs.

Handwashing Saves Lives

“Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.”

  • Millions of children under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.
  • Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.
  • 2.2 Million children die per year from diseases often prevented by proper hygiene

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Handwashing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick.”

How Can You Participate?

There are a variety of ways that you can participate in Global Handwashing Day including:

  • Make sure you and your family know when and how to properly wash your hands.
  • Visit Facebook and Twitter to learn more about Global Handwashing Day games and activities.
  • Download handwashing resources from: http://globalhandwashing.org/ghw-day/tools
  • Get social by searching for and using the hashtag #iwashmyhands on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Remember that properly washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds) is a simple and effective method of preventing the spread of germs that should be practiced daily. For more information on handwashing, visit the CDC’s handwashing website.

What is FluoroSafety?

Identifying Important Risks Associated with FGI

In 1994 the FDA released a public health advisory warning of the potential for serious radiation-induced skin injuries to patients resulting from fluoroscopically guided interventions (FGI).  In the 20 years since this advisory, there have been hundreds of published cases of skin injury resulting from FGI, and the number is steadily increasing even today.  As the scope of disease that can be diagnosed and treated using FGI increases, so does the complexity of these procedures and the radiation doses to patients, physicians, and staff.  While these procedures provide an incredible benefit to the patient compared to open-surgical alternatives, there are important risks that must be understood by the performing physician.

The Need for Effective Training

In 2010, frustrated by the lack of user-friendly, accessible, and effective training focused on this topic, two diagnostic medical physicists started Fluoroscopic Safety, LLC [http://www.fluorosafety.com]. Understanding the need for a balanced perspective and considering that radiation is not the only risk from FGI, they collaborated with an experienced board certified interventional radiologist well-known for his work in quality improvement.  Because of the multi-disciplinary M.D. and Ph.D. backgrounds of the authors of FluoroSafety courses, we understand that when a physician is performing an FGI, managing radiation dose is not the first thing on his mind.  Instead, practitioners are thinking about the patient-specific technical challenges associated with these procedures.  The training programs from FluoroSafety are developed with this in mind.  While our courses do provide instruction on the fundamental physics of fluoroscopy and radiation biology, we focus on simple methods for managing patient and staff radiation dose.  Using videos and animations, our courses provide an easy to remember and easy to execute set of practices which benefit both the physician and their patients.  This is one of the key features of our courses, designed by physicians and physicists together.

Fluoro CME Training and Education

The educational programs from FluoroSafety also help providers satisfy state regulatory requirements. Through a joint sponsorship with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, our courses have been approved for up to 10.5 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.   Our programs meet the training requirements for practitioners who use fluoroscopy in Oregon, California, and Texas.  In addition, board certified providers who complete these courses are eligible to claim self assessment CME (SA-CME), as required for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) by members of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Interactive and Engaging Content

The educational programs from FluoroSafety are tailored to the needs of busy healthcare professionals and feature on-demand Flash-based learning rich in animations and videos.  Our courses also feature optional narration.  Course content can be accessed at the convenience of the physician from any computer, smartphone, or tablet with Internet access.

Meet State Requirements

Whether you are trying to meet state regulatory requirements or are simply interested in improving the care you provide to your patients, FluoroSafety has a course for you.  The most common feedback we have received from physicians who have taken our course is that they were surprised by how much they didn’t know about the safe use of fluoroscopy—you may be surprised too!

FluoroSafety.com

A. Kyle Jones, PhD

Alexander S. Pasciak, PhD

Joseph Steele, MD

Fluoroscopic Safety, LLC