Category Archives: Health and safety

Top Ten Things to do for Preparedness in a CDC or In-Home Center

1. Post evacuation procedures. Be able to leave in 5 minutes, with everything you need and for sure not leaving any child behind. Test this thoroughly.
2. Have a plan for sheltering in place and evacuating and test them.
3. Be sure parents know your plan.
4. Be sure that all the children can tell you who they are, who their parents are, and their parents phone numbers. (Be sure all personal items are marked. Try testing evacuating babies WITH their things.)
5. Be sure every family has a plan for regrouping in case of a disaster.
6. Go over all these plans, now with no telephones available.
7. Understand that in even normal heavy usage times, one can not get through on the phone system. If the phones are not down entirely, use text messaging. Make sure everyone has texting on their phone and understands its use in emergencies. Do not assume.
8. Get a dedicated weather radio and make it visible in the office.
9. Have enough food and water for everyone in the building if you had to stay there for a week. Yes, really.
10. Have strong plastic sheeting and wide duct tape on hand in case of poison or particulate matter in the air. This is from FEMA. In 2010 an anthrax attack was foiled in Texas.
11. Make sure that it is not easy to shoot at the children. Yes, really. This is from a security training that was conducted in Austin. Consider increasing the privacy of your play yard. Consider covered spots where a sniper might be to shoot at the children.
12. Of course you keep careful watch of who picks up the children. Arrange your building and attention so that you also keep a careful watch on who comes in your building.
13. Have a plan to deal with an armed, crazy intruder. You think it would never happen. Don’t be Newtown or Columbine. Who would have thought it would happen there?
14. Think through what you would do if all the computer chips in your city were “fried.” This could happen with an EMP bomb. Russians are today flying close to American borders and boasting of a weapon that would bring us to our knees. There is a known jihadist camp south west of Houston. In case of an EMP bomb or along with a nuclear bomb, phones, computers, and cars would not work because the chips and some other electronic parts would overload and burn. Think how much infrastructure would “go down” and how long it would take to fix it all. “Old clunkers,” before about 1984, would work with a few parts replaced. If you have the use of such a vehicle, get those spare parts. Store them and any electronic equipment you wish to use in an emergency in a more than air-tight, sealed metal box. No rubber gaskets. Metal completely sealed all around. Have extra batteries – in that box.
15. Help your neighbors to be prepared. Organize your block. You will find that you can muster 2 weeks of safety if you do it now, but if you don’t, and people go crazy, they will be your biggest hazard.
Don’t blow this off. Don’t get crazy scared either. Just be practical and prepared. Think of the wife who complained about her husband’s wild expenditure. Why, look at this. He bought a fire extinguisher. In 10 years of marriage, we haven’t used it once.

Scientific Studies Show UV-C Light is Germicidal

B. I. Callies, “SUMMARY REPORT Background levels of viable bacteria and fungi in the indoor air and on surfaces in Ingham Regional Medical Center “before and after” the UVGI-HVAC installation.  Michigan State University, Feb. 2009
The objective of this project was to assess microbial concentrations in air and on fomites in Ingham Hospitals before and after the  installation of a UVGI-HVAC system. Using bacteria and fungi concentrations as a standard of effectiveness of the UVGI-HVAC system, indoor air samples were collected before and after installation and microbial levels were compared. Using  the impingement method as described by Jensen and Schafer (1998) viable microorganisms (E. coli, total bacteria, Staphylococci, MRSA, and fungi) were sampled in the air. This study also
investigated indoor surface contamination because fomites have been shown to act as reservoirs for spreading diseases (Morens, D. M., and V. M. Rash. 1995; Bures et al. 2000; Barker, J. 2001;
Barker et al. 2004; Kramer et al. 2006; Boone and Gerba 2005). Preliminary samples were collected in the summer of 2007 and post UVGI installation samples were collected in the fall of 2008. Both pre/post installation samples were collected in the emergency department waiting room and cardiac intensive care unit of the Greenlawn Campus and in the UCC waiting room
and patient room in 1E at the Pennsylvania Campus.
…and .85 for the Greenlawn campus and
Ingham Regional Orthopedic Hospital, respectively. On both of the campuses of Ingham  Regional Hospital, the UV systems appear to have decreased all organism levels in the post installation tests in the air and on non-touched and touched surfaces.
Mardell, Bucher et. al. “Safety of Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Air Disinfection for Room Occupants: Results from the Tuberculosis Ultraviolet Shelter Study , Public Health Reports / January–Feb. 2008, Vol. 123.
SYNOPSIS  Objectives. We evaluated the safety of room occupants in the Tuberculosis  Ultraviolet Shelter Study (TUSS), a double-blind, placebo-controlled field trial of upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) at 14 homeless shelters in
six U.S. cities from 1997 to 2004.   RESULTS  Among these subjects, there were 223 reports of eye or skin symptoms. During the active UV period, 95 questionnaires (6%) noted such symptoms, and during the placebo period, 92 questionnaires (6%) did so. In
the 36 remaining cases, either the UV period when symptoms took place was  unknown or the symptoms spanned both periods. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of reports of symptoms between the active  and placebo periods. One definite instance of UV-related keratoconjunctivitis  occurred, resulting from a placement of a bunk bed in a dormitory where a single bed had been used when the UV fixtures were first installed.  CONCLUSIONS These findings demonstrate that careful application of upperroom  UVGI can be achieved without an apparent increase in the incidence of  the most common side effects of accidental UV overexposure.
Nicholson and Galeaon, et. al. “UV Resistance of Bacillus anthracis Spores Revisited: Validation of Bacillus subtilis Spores as UV Surrogates for Spores of B. anthracis Sterne. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Feb. 2003, p. 1327–1330.
Public Health Reports / January–February 2008 / Volume 123 Copyright © 2003, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.   Received 25 July 2002/Accepted 30 October 2002
Recent bioterrorism concerns have prompted renewed efforts towards understanding the biology of bacterial spore resistance to radiation with a special emphasis on the spores  of Bacillus anthracis. A review of the literature revealed that B. anthracis Sterne spores may be three to four times more resistant to 254-nmwavelength
UV than are spores of commonly used indicator strains of Bacillus subtilis. To test this notion, B. anthracis Sterne spores were purified and their UV inactivation kinetics were determined in parallel with those of the spores of two indicator strains of B. subtilis, strains WN624 and ATCC 6633. When prepared and assayed under identical conditions, the spores of all three strains exhibited essentially identical UV inactivation kinetics. The data indicate that standard UV treatments that are effective against B. subtilis spores are likely also sufficient to inactivate B. anthracis spores and that the spores of standard B. subtilis

Communicable Diseases in the Workplace

We rejoice with Liberia that they may now close down clinics set up to treat Ebola, given a lack of new cases for more than 2 months. Surely Liberians are grateful both for altruistic doctors and the president’s calling of national prayer.
We in the United States were never under such a great risk from Ebola as one might have imagined from the news media frenzy last summer. However, there are many communicable diseases that may come through our centers. Nowhere are we more concerned with prevention than in childcare centers.
Texas Business Today has an article in their current issue that addresses the situation. Briefly, it says 1. Adopt a clear written policy about the confidentiality of medical information. 2. Adopt a clear written policy for monitoring and managing those who have been exposed. 3. Adopt a flexible sick-leave policy. 4. Educate yourself and your employees on the specific diseases at issue. (BTW, notice I reblogged a list of rashes, with pictures recently.) 5. Identify scope of risk before taking action. 6. Control gossip. 7. Report. 8) Call fcity or county health department for advice. 8. Comply with any investigation, 10. Keep notes and 11. Call employer hotline at 800/832-9394 prior to taking any action if you require additional assistance with evaluating your particular circumstance.
The article did raise cautions against requiring all employees to get vaccinated. Not only are their religious objections that must be recognized, but also there are possible health risks to vaccinations, which would in turn create serious liability issues for the employer who required the vaccinations.  Prevention in terms of sanitation, handwashing, and disinfecting is more important.
Of course, I can not imagine a situation where we would be report any communicable disease suspicion to a government office. I have seen a poster of various diseases and a list of what to do, including those that might need to be reported. Anyone know where to obtain these? Please share.

Rashes – List With Pictures and Advice

Here is a list, with pictures, of the most common rashes children have. Very valuable.
Feel so grateful that I have experienced so few with my children. Right now, it is time to do everything we can for prevention. Next, I will come up with some help with that. For now, maybe this ought to be added to everyone’s training. We wouldn’t want these to go un-noticed and so spread.

Parafin is a Toxin

Candles are lovely.  Occasionally they are worth the fire hazard. I have discovered, however, that some do not know that parafin smoke is a toxin.  Be sure that you have adequate ventilation! Even better, use beeswax candles, or some other variety that certifies low toxicity. Let’s have a green, clean, and very merry holiday season.

Did you miss the Clean & Green Topic?

When I was a director I noticed that the more we tried to eliminate germs, the more we introduced toxins to the environment.  I was at a loss as to how to do any more.  Now I have some answers.
How much bleach is too much?  If you smell it, it is too much (Wisconsin Department of Health Services).  Further, if your workers are coughing when they use a cleaner, you are endangering the children.
Of course, in Texas the regulations require us to use bleach water, with lower concentrations for things that go in little mouths, and permit EPA cleaners and sterlizing in a dishwasher. But that leaves a lot left to address.  For instance, have you thought about sterlizing the door knobs?  The phone receivers?
I have found a number of technologies that work well for killing microbes. I will keep  you up-to-date as I find good specific solutions. Hydrogen Peroxide is a great cleaner and not toxic. It is possible to clean with steam and there are now some new steam cleaners that use less water and so are less likely to burn your personnel.
There are now some air purifiers that also kill microbes. I do not recommend those that put out ozone because that could damage little one’s lung cells before it hurt adults. There is a new air purifier from Hammacher Schlemmer that uses heat to kill microbes in the air, but it is designed for a small room; I have not been able to inspect this one.  There is a new air purifier, from an inventor in Austin that has a quiet air purifier, good for pollen, that also has a metal cell in it that should kill microbes. He has lab verification on his claims and it is apparent to me that it would not hurt children. Contact me for his information.
Finally, UV-C light offers many possibilities.  UV-C, a certain wavelength found within sunlight, does kills all microbes. Scientific studies show that it can even kill some of the studiest germs like anthrax.  Today hospitals are zapping rooms with a Sanadyne machine between patients. A Sanadyne machine is nothing more than a stand with UV-C light bulbs.  It costs something like $3,000 and can easily damage eyes and skin.
There are UV-C lights that one can put into air conditioning closets that will clean the air and cut down the “gunk” that accumulates in your HVAC system. Indeed not only should this improve air quality but also perhaps pay for itself with reduced electrical bills. I can get one of those for you.
Coming to market now are other applications. I am continuing to research this. If you are interested in what I find, please contact me.
Indeed, if you want copies of the scientific studies I have, I will gladly forward them to you. Remember where you heard it. I am doing everything I can to serve directors — and in-home operators — with the latest info.
If you want to contact me, email me at I am working toward getting specific solutions. No more sick kids, no more poisoning kids!  You heard it from me.  Call me so I can recommend a solution for your center.

Calm Ebola Fears

I am hearing from a variety of sources that people are getting freaked out about ebola.  No amount of reassurance seems to help anymore, because people rightly distrust government and do not distrust their information source. You do know that journalism is going to give out topics that they think the public is interested in, and therefore can do nothing but feed a frenzy, no matter how unrealistic. No one considers statistics to determine real meaning; no one stops to consider whether stories are internally consistent;  and no one who has not been in the role of a Director or Principal realizes how much it is necessary to proceed with an abundance of caution.  So, schools, hospitals, and public officials are of course right to do their due diligence and prepare for the worst, but that has no bearing on the fact that we do not have a pandemic, nor is it likely at all that we will.  Freaking out is not helpful.  Stay calm and keeping thinking. Do reality testing. Then do normal, prudent things you should have been doing all along. That is all.
Directors, however, always have a need to keep germs from spreading in their center. The law mandates the use of bleach water. There are other measures, beyond that. One of course can wipe down, spray or soak surfaces, both before and after class. One might sanitize the doorknob during drop off and pick up times.
There are, however, other measures that are not toxic. Bleach of course is toxic; chlorine escapes into the air. How much is too much? I don’t know but if it smells like bleach in the room, that alone is not pleasant.  So as a director, I was on a quest for more measures to reduce germs and reduce toxicity at the same time. Now I have found some answers.  One is UV light. This sanitizes every surface on which the light hits. It is used by hospitals to sanitize rooms between hospital patients.  One must be careful to use this when no one at all is in the room. Indeed, it might be best for a center to purchase not the equipment but a service, since your own employees might hurt themselves. If you want a service, contact me at 512/249-7629 or  An even better solution is an air purifier that has one of several technologies that constantly kills germs in the air. For that, please visit: Air and Water. They stock several kinds of air purifiers.

Detox! Hydrate!

Detoxing, drainage, off loading toxicity is all the rage among the health-interested adults. I am not going to urge you try some de-toxing protocol on children, but I am going to remind that you pay how important it is to allow children enough water. Cutting edge science is pointing to toxicity as a major problem for children! As the weather gets warmer, children need even more hydration, just as we do. Remember that orange juice, pop. and tea do not hydrate. Be sure that the drinks are not heavily loaded with sugar, either. Off-loading too much sugar from a little system puts hydration and detoxifying off balance too. Water is always great. Well, test the water. Be sure it tastes good. Purified, cold water is always good.

Promised list of resources for children's learning problems in Austin now posted.

Here is the promised to post resources in Austin for children with special learning needs .   This is not necessarily an exhaustive list, just the ones I know about. Please be invited to post your favorites too.  I do think every director ought to have a list.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Johnson Center The Johnson Center for Child Health & Development : The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development 1700 Rio Grande Street, Suite 200 Austin, TX 78701 Telephone 512.732.8400 Fax 512.732.8353 (Expensive and have been snooty to me, but I still think they are the best such resource in town for autism.)
ABA – Today there is more than one provider. CARD was the first one.
CARD 9390 Research Blvd. Suite 100 Austin, TX 78759 New inquiries: (855) 345-2273   Phone: (512) 330-9520 Fax: (512) 330-9505 Email:   It is clear that some have been helped a great deal by this.
Dr. J. Cunningham – in San Marcos, closed his center.
The Dan Center for Autism Wellness and Recovery One MUST read CAN! Book. It includes scores of refercnes to scientific peer reviewed journals, has fairly precise protocols, and a summary on the back cover that will open your eyes. Your child does not have to have autism. Many children have improved so much that it is possible to say that “they used to have autism.”
I do not recommend “autismspeaks” because I think it is unduly negative, not scientifically informed, and while I do not know for sure about this organization, I do know that some groups that appear to be parent support groups are really marketing arms for large corporations. DAN! has parent training that is scientifically based.
Sensory Integration and Clumsy Child Syndrome (yes that is actually the technical name)
Kathy Nicholson, From the Heart Therapy Center Phone: (512)-306-1707 Fax: (512)-306-7380
Nicki Branch OT moved.
There are other OT s in town.  There is a debate about what discipline should be “treating” SI or even exactly what the problem is, but the OT’s seem to be helping in lots of cases.
Scottish Rite – free and time tested “language retraining”
Fast4Word, (from Scientific Learning) unduly expensive, phonemic awareness training via computer.  Will help those for whom it is meant. Brain HQ has a similar program out meant for seniors.  Please let me know about competitors.
Pat Sekel is Austin’s top teacher trainer for dyslexia, has a doctorate from UT.
Dr. Swank has a tutoring center and experts say she does voodoo, but if she has good results, you might check out her center.
Oy vey – stop the red dye!!  More than 80 % of people exhibit ADD  symptoms when consuming red dye. There are many more substances that might cause similar problems, but each individual is different.  They work like allergies.
Austin Holistic Healing Center | Natural Hormone Replacement … › … › Detox › Gluten intolerance (Run by Dr. Ted Edwards MD and Dr. Teri Beim, ND)
If you need a very knowledgeable pharmacist, see Tom Schnorr, Apothecary Shoppe, Duval
Autism; ADD/ADHD; G.I.Issues For Kids; … Why should I consider alternative health medicine? … Wellness clinic Services at our Austin location include:
Linda Classen is the educator’s most educated about the field. She knows about the real, if possibly rare, brain dysfunction and how to train teachers and how to deal with public school teachers.
Feingold diet, although much poo-poo-ed does work form many people and has the advantage of a scientific trial for each person. There is no harm in trying and perhaps a great deal of help, so I do not understand the poo-poo.
(There is a lot of disinformation out there.  I urge you to consider  1) the poo-ppo-er’s pecuniary interest 2) real claims of real science rather than standard practice of traditional medicine and 3) a reasonable protocol which should always start with basic health and wellness, and thus education. Anyway, a book is cheaper than a drug.  Start there.)
There are educational resources at People’s Pharmacy