Worry more about the Influenza Virus than Ebola by Kathleen Crowley, PA-C, MPH, DrPH
As fatal as the flu can be, Americans are more on edge about the potential spread of Ebola, perhaps because it is easy to overlook a virus we have long been accustomed. Influenza is a respiratory pathogen, easily transmitted, unlike Ebola which requires contact with blood or bodily fluids. Influenza infection is vaccine-preventable, and in fact, 92% of NYPH personnel received the flu vaccine in 2013/14.
The vaccine is available at no cost to University personnel through Workforce Health & Safety (CUMC) or Columbia Health (Morningside) and it is also important to note that one can not catch the flu from a flu shot because the virus in the vaccine is killed. Flu viruses are constantly changing and it is not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year, so the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/index.htm) for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. However it usually takes up to two weeks before the influenza vaccine is effective, so get vaccinated as soon as possible before others around you are sick. So knockout the flu before it knocks out you, get vaccinated!
Do you use a Class 3B or Class 4 laser in your laboratory? If so, stay away from the light (even if you can't see it)! When working with high-power lasers, one must be mindful of both beam and non-beam hazards.
Work with lasers can be safe and worry-free, but can be dangerous if approached haphazardly. If you are working with powerful lasers, stay away from the light. As a reminder, register all lasers with EH&S by submitting Appendix D - http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/LaserRegistrationForm.pdf - , and contact email@example.com with any questions.
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