Health Topics

Safety issues

Safety
National Library of Medicine
Accident Prevention

You can't remove all the safety hazards from your life, but you can reduce them. To avoid many major hazards and prepare for emergencies:

  • Keep emergency phone numbers by your telephones
  • Make a first aid kit for your home
  • Make a family emergency plan
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Keep guns unloaded and locked up. Lock up the ammunition separately.
  • Follow the directions carefully when using tools or equipment

Young children are especially at risk. Supervision is the best way to keep them safe. Childproofing the house can also help.


Safety
Safety Issues
You can't remove all the safety hazards from your life, but you can reduce them. To avoid many major hazards and prepare for emergencies: Keep emergency ...
Vaccine Safety
National Library of Medicine
What are vaccines?

Vaccines play an important role in keeping us healthy. They protect us from serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines are injections (shots), liquids, pills, or nasal sprays that you take to teach your body's immune system to recognize and defend against harmful germs. The germs could be viruses or bacteria.

Some types of vaccines contain germs that cause disease. But the germs have been killed or weakened enough that they won't make you sick. Some vaccines only contain a part of a germ. Other types of vaccines include instructions for your cells to make a protein of the germ.

These different vaccine types all spark an immune response, which helps your body fight off the germs. Your immune system will also remember the germ and attack it if that germ ever invades again. This protection against a certain disease is called immunity.

These diseases can be very serious. Because of this, getting immunity from a vaccine is safer than getting immunity by being sick with the disease. And for a few vaccines, getting vaccinated can actually give you a better immune response than getting the disease would.

Do vaccines cause side effects?

As with medicines, any vaccine can cause side effects. Most of the time the side effects are minor, such as a sore arm, fatigue, or mild fever. They usually go away within a few days. These common side effects are often a sign that your body is starting to build immunity against a disease.

Serious side effects from vaccines can happen, but they are very rare. These side effects could include a severe allergic reaction. Other possible side effects are different for each vaccine. Talk with your health care provider if you're concerned about your health after getting vaccinated.

Some people worry that childhood vaccines could cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But many scientific studies have looked at this and have found no link between vaccines and ASD.

How are vaccines tested for safety?

Every vaccine that is approved in the United States goes through extensive safety testing. It starts with testing and evaluation of the vaccine before it's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process can often take several years.:

  • First, the vaccine is tested in labs. Based on those tests, the FDA decides whether to test the vaccine with people.
  • Testing with people is done through clinical trials. In these trials, the vaccines are tested on volunteers. Clinical trials usually start with 20 to 100 volunteers, but eventually include thousands of volunteers.
  • The clinical trials have three phases. The trials are looking for the answer to important questions such as
    • Is the vaccine safe?
    • What dose (amount) works best?
    • How does the immune system react to it?
    • How effective is it?
  • During the process, the FDA works closely with the company who makes the vaccine to evaluate the vaccine's safety and effectiveness. If the vaccine is found to be safe and effective, it will be approved and licensed by the FDA.
  • After a vaccine is licensed, experts may consider adding it to the recommended vaccine, or immunization, schedule. This schedule is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It lists which vaccines are recommended for different groups of people. They list which age groups should get which vaccines, how many doses they need, and when they should get them.

Testing and monitoring continue after the vaccine is approved:

  • The company making the vaccines tests every batch of vaccines for quality and safety. The FDA reviews the results of these tests. It also inspects the factories where the vaccine is made. These checks help make sure the vaccines meet standards for quality and safety.
  • The FDA, CDC, and other federal agencies continue to monitor its safety, to watch for possible side effects. They have systems to track any safety issues with the vaccines.

These high safety standards and testing help to make sure that vaccines in the United States are safe. Vaccines help protect against serious, even deadly, diseases. They not only protect you, but also help to keep these diseases from spreading to others.


Infections
Immune System
Safety Issues
... side effects. They have systems to track any safety issues with the vaccines. These high safety standards and testing help to make sure that ...
Fire Safety
National Library of Medicine
Fire prevention

Preventing fires is an important part of fire safety. In the United States, cooking is the main cause of home fires. Cigarettes are a big risk too - they are the leading cause of fire deaths. Here are some fire prevention tips:

  • Don't leave the stove or oven unattended when they are on
  • Don't let children use kitchen appliances unsupervised
  • Don't smoke in bed
  • Make sure your electrical appliances and cords are in good condition

It is also important to be prepared in case there is a fire. Make sure that you have working smoke detectors on every floor and in every bedroom. You should also have fire extinguishers on every floor and in your kitchen. Make and practice an escape plan in case the main exit is blocked.


Fires
Safety
Safety Issues
Preventing fires is an important part of fire safety. In the United States, cooking is the main cause of home fires. Cigarettes are a big risk too - they are the ...
Child Safety
National Library of Medicine
Safety, Child

As parents, we want to keep our children safe from harm. Take steps to keep your children safe:

  • Install the right child safety seat in your car
  • Teach children how to cross the street safely
  • Make sure they wear the right gear and equipment for sports
  • Install and test smoke alarms
  • Store medicines, cleaners and other dangerous substances in locked cabinets
  • Babyproof your home
  • Don't leave small children unattended

Safety
Children and Teenagers
Safety Issues
As parents, we want to keep our children safe from harm. Take steps to keep your children safe: Install the right child safety seat in your car Teach children ...
Motor Vehicle Safety
National Library of Medicine
Automobile Safety
Car Safety
Car Seats
Driving
Traffic Accidents
Vehicle Safety

Every year thousands of people in the U.S. die from motor vehicle crashes. Trying to prevent these crashes is one part of motor vehicle safety. Here are some things you can do to be safer on the road:

  • Make sure your vehicle is safe and in working order
  • Use car seats for children
  • Wear your seat belt
  • Don't speed or drive aggressively
  • Don't drive impaired

Safety also involves being aware of others. Share the road with bicycles and motorcycles, and watch for pedestrians.


Automobile Driving
Safety
Accidents, Traffic
Safety Issues
Every year thousands of people in the U.S. die from motor vehicle crashes. Trying to prevent these crashes is one part of motor vehicle safety. Here are some ...
Food Safety
National Library of Medicine

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage can prevent foodborne illness. There are four basic steps to food safety at home:

  • Clean - always wash your fruits and vegetables, hands, counters, and cooking utensils.
  • Separate - keep raw foods to themselves. Germs can spread from one food to another.
  • Cook - foods need to get hot and stay hot. Heat kills germs.
  • Chill - put fresh food in the refrigerator right away.

In the grocery store, avoid cans that are bulging or jars that have cracks or loose lids. Check packages to be sure food hasn't reached its expiration date.

United States Department of Agriculture


Food Safety
Food and Nutrition
Poisoning, Toxicology, Environmental Health
Safety Issues
Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage can prevent foodborne illness. There are four basic steps to food safety at home: Clean - always wash your ...
Falls
National Library of Medicine
Accidents

Falls can be dangerous at any age. Babies and young children can get hurt falling off furniture or down the stairs. Older children may fall off playground equipment. For older adults, falls can be especially serious. They are at higher risk of falling. They are also more likely to fracture (break) a bone when they fall, especially if they have osteoporosis. A broken bone, especially when it is in a hip, may even lead to disability and a loss of independence for older adults.

Some common causes of falls include:

  • Balance problems
  • Some medicines, which can make you feel dizzy, confused, or slow
  • Vision problems
  • Alcohol, which can affect your balance and reflexes
  • Muscle weakness, especially in your legs, which can make it harder for you to get up from a chair or keep your balance when walking on an uneven surface.
  • Certain illnesses, such as low blood pressure, diabetes, and neuropathy
  • Slow reflexes, which make it hard to keep your balance or move out of the way of a hazard
  • Tripping or slipping due to loss of footing or traction

At any age, people can make changes to lower their risk of falling. It important to take care of your health, including getting regular eye exams. Regular exercise may lower your risk of falls by strengthening your muscles, improving your balance, and keeping your bones strong. And you can look for ways to make your house safer. For example, you can get rid of tripping hazards and make sure that you have rails on the stairs and in the bath. To reduce the chances of breaking a bone if you do fall, make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D.

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Accidental Falls
Older Adults
Safety Issues
Falls can be dangerous at any age. Babies and young children can get hurt falling off furniture or down the stairs. Older children may fall off playground ...
Occupational Health
National Library of Medicine
Employee Health
Occupational Injuries

Occupational health problems occur at work or because of the kind of work you do. These problems can include:

  • Cuts, fractures (broken bones), and sprains and strains
  • Loss of limbs
  • Repetitive motion disorders
  • Hearing problems caused by exposure to noise
  • Vision problems
  • Illness caused by breathing, touching, or swallowing unsafe substances
  • Illness caused by exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to germs in health care settings

Good job safety and prevention practices can reduce your risk of these problems. Try to stay fit, reduce stress, set up your work area properly, and use the right equipment and gear.


Accidents, Occupational
Occupational Stress
Occupational Injuries
Occupational Diseases
Occupational Exposure
Wellness and Lifestyle
Safety Issues
Occupational health problems occur at work or because of the kind of work you do. These problems can include: Cuts, fractures (broken bones), and sprains and strains ...
Barotrauma
National Library of Medicine

Barotrauma means injury to your body because of changes in barometric (air) or water pressure. One common type happens to your ear. A change in altitude may cause your ears to hurt. This can happen if you are flying in an airplane, driving in the mountains, or scuba diving. Divers can also get decompression sickness, which affects the whole body.

Common symptoms of ear barotrauma include:

  • Pain
  • A feeling that your ears are stuffed
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness

Treatments for ear barotrauma include chewing gum and yawning to relieve the pressure. Medications such as decongestants may also help.


Barotrauma
Ear, Nose and Throat
Safety Issues
Barotrauma means injury to your body because of changes in barometric (air) or water pressure. One common type happens to your ear. A change in altitude may cause ...
Medical Device Safety
National Library of Medicine
Equipment Safety

A medical device is any product used to diagnose, cure, or treat a condition, or to prevent disease. They range from small and simple, like a blood glucose meter, to large and complicated, like a ventilator. You might use one at home or at work, or you may need one in a hospital.

To use medical devices safely:

  • Know how your device works. Keep instructions close by
  • Understand and properly respond to device alarms
  • Have a back-up plan and supplies in the event of an emergency
  • Keep emergency numbers available and update them as needed
  • Educate your family and caregivers about your device

Food and Drug Administration


Equipment Safety
Safety Issues
A medical device is any product used to diagnose, cure, or treat a condition, or to prevent disease. They range from small and simple, like a blood glucose ...