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Health Questions & Answers #63 ~ [Issue 0405-4]  Wellness Weekly
 Apr 29, 2005 10:13 PDT 

Q & A #1:
What should I do if there is a fire on the stove or in the oven?

The most common kitchen fire starts in a pan on top of the stove. Do
not try to move the pan. If you try to move it, you increase the
chance of spreading the flames. Call the Fire Department as soon as
you are aware of the fire.

How to extinguish a fire in a pan: Slide the lid over the pan slowly.
Do not try to throw the lid on from a distance or place the lid
directly on the pan. Sliding the lid on top of the pan will cut off
the oxygen to the fire and the fire will die. After you have covered
the fire, turn the burner off to remove the heat source. Do not
attempt to put out a fire in a pan with water. Water will increase
the intensity of the fire, possibly causing injuries or spreading
flames to other areas of the room.

How to extinguish a fire in an oven: If a fire starts in the oven,
closing the oven door will cut off the oxygen and smother the fire in
most cases. Turn off the oven to remove the heat source and keep the
oven door closed.

Consider a fire extinguisher. A fire extinguisher can be a useful
safety item - if you know how to operate it. Use a multi-purpose
extinguisher that is right for your particular kitchen. Fire
extinguishers must only be used on small, contained fires. Never
allow a fire to get between you and your exit. If the fire is too
large to safely fight yourself, leave the home immediately. Children
should never attempt to fight a fire.

Q & A #2:
Do seat belts really work?

Yes. Seat belts are the most effective way to protect yourself from
being seriously injured. In a motor vehicle collision, there are
actually two collisions. The first is the collision between the motor
vehicle and another vehicle or object. The second happens when the
passengers either strike the interior of the vehicle, or are thrown
from it. This is called the "human collision". Seat belts keep
passengers from moving around the car. They also spread the forces of
the collision across the strongest points on people's bodies. Besides
protecting people in a collision, seat belts also keep the driver in
place so they can stay in control of the car. You also have to wear
your seat belt in vehicles with airbags. While airbags are useful
safety devices, they can cause injuries if passengers are not
strapped in properly.

Seat belts' safety record. Seat belts reduce your chances of dying in
an accident by 45 to 55%. They reduce your chances of serious injury
by about 50%. Child passenger restraints (infant car seats) reduce
the risk of death and serious injuries by about 70%. In 1997, in
Alberta, Canada, people who used restraints were much less likely to
be injured in a crash (14.7%) than those who did not use them
(35.7%). Transport Canada estimates that since 1989, the increased
use of seat belts has saved 2900 lives, avoided 66,000 injuries, and
saved $5 billion in social and health costs. Keep in mind that for
seat belts to work, you must use them correctly. The same goes for
child restraints, which should be correctly installed.

Q & A #3:
What exactly is a concussion?

Many people are not aware that a concussion is an injury to the
brain. It is defined as a temporary alteration in mental function
that may or may not be associated with a loss of consciousness. The
trauma is usually a blow to the head. But, many experts believe that
it is possible to have a concussion without a blow to the head, as in
a whiplash injury. In fact, the term "mild traumatic brain injury" is
sometimes used to describe a concussion.

Q & A #4:
How do I know if I have had a brain injury?

If you also experience any of the symptoms noted below following a
blow to the head or even a forceful jerking of the head, such as a
hard tackle or whiplash type of injury you may have experienced a
"mild traumatic brain injury". YOU SHOULD SEE A PHYSICIAN.

Q & A #5:
What are the symptoms of concussion?

1. Movement or motor problems: lack of coordination; 2. Physical
problems: headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue/sleep alterations (not
attributable to other obvious causes, like not getting enough sleep),
loss of balance, feeling light-headed or dizzy, increased sensitivity
to sounds or lights, blurred vision or eyes that tire easily, loss of
taste or smell, ringing in the ears; 3. Thinking problems:
concentration problems, memory problems, feeling foggy or
disoriented, difficulty planning / organizing, difficulty making
decisions and solving problems, slowness in thinking, acting,
speaking, reading, getting lost or easily confused; 4. Mood changes:
feeling sad, anxious, or listless, feeling more irritable or angry,
lack of motivation. The symptoms may last less than a few minutes or
may be longer lasting such as days or weeks. They may develop
immediately. They may also be delayed by hours or days.
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