Should you stay home if you have the flu?

feb_article2Are you hesitant to call in sick, even when you are seriously ill? Do you worry that you should go in to work even if your body is telling you to stay in bed?

Many of us may feel that we have to go to work, even on days we really shouldn’t. But experts say you should stay home if you can when you are sick — especially when you have the flu — or else you may end up being Patient zero – the first person to get sick and start spreading it through the office. All it takes is one infected person to go to work and before you know it, the whole office can end up sick with the flu.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with the flu can spread it to from about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets then can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Also, a person might get infected by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose; this is a less common form of transmission.

Do you have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  •  fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

Should you go to work?

Experts say that whether you have the flu or some other illness, you should consider the following questions when deciding if you should go to work or stay home:

  •  How well can you carry out your work duties? If you’re feeling quite sick, you’re going to have a hard time functioning and performing at your normal level.
  • Are you contagious? If you have a viral or bacterial illness, you’ll expose your coworkers and they, in turn, will infect others. Staying home when you’re sick helps to curb germs in the community.
  • Will resting at home help your body to overcome the illness? Doctors say they often see a lot of symptoms worsening because people will not just stop and rest. What you need to understand, experts say, is that they’re pushing themselves to the point where they’re actually a lot sicker at the end of two to four days than they would have been if they had just taken that first day off and let their body fight the infection.
  • Are you taking medications that could impair your ability to think, work, operate machinery, or drive? If you’re so sick that you’re using opiates or any controlled substance to manage pain, you really need to stay home and you shouldn’t be driving. Your performance will be impaired and you will be a danger to yourself and others.

If you have the flu, you may be able to infect others before symptoms even begin to develop and up to 5 to 7 days after you become sick. It also is possible to not have any symptoms and carry the flu virus, but still be able to pass it on to others.

Staying healthy

Beyond getting a flu shot, experts say the best way to keep from getting sick are to:

  • Frequently wash your hands
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid crowds whenever possible during flu season
  • Know the symptoms of the flu so you can get treatment quickly

The worst of the flu season appears to be over, according to health officials, but it is still important to be aware of the symptoms and to get to your doctor if needed. And if you have the flu, please stay home, for your own and others’ well-being.  Treat others as you would like to be treated. Think about if you would like it if someone came to work and coughed on you all day, possibly spreading germs to you.

Do you know the signs of a heart attack?

feb-article1February is a month where we celebrate love by giving our heart to someone on Valentine’s Day. But it also is a month where we raise awareness of how to keep that heart healthy.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. That’s one reason why every year, February is designated as National Heart Month.

Annually, about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 15 percent of people who suffer from one will die from it.

Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack is key to preventing death, but many people don’t.

In a 2005 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 92 percent of respondents recognized chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack. Unfortunately, only 27 percent were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 911 when someone was having a heart attack.

About 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital. This suggests that many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

Heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats.

If you think that you or someone you love is having a heart attack, you need to call 911 immediately. A person’s chance of surviving a heart attack increases greatly if emergency treatment is administered as soon as possible.

Who is at risk?

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

How can you protect yourself?

Lowering you blood pressure and cholesterol will reduce your risk of dying of heart disease. Here are some tips to protect your heart:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
  • Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.

Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack and following experts’ advice to reduce your risk of heart disease are great ways to stay heart healthy. Make sure your loved ones are informed as well. They’ll thank you for it.

Falling TVs pose a danger to young children

By Arthur Elk

With tax season upon us, you may be considering using part of your tax refund to buy a new TV for your family. If you do, what are you doing with your old one? Putting it in one of your children’s bedrooms? Most of us would never consider a TV as a danger. But for parents with young children, TVs or any other piece of large furniture can become deadly and one watchdog group is reminding parents about the danger.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents to anchor and stabilize their TVs, furniture and appliances to avoid tip-over related accidents.

A new CPSC report issued in December shows that falling TV sets have killed more than 200 children since 2000. In 2011 alone, 29 people – mostly children – were killed by falling TVs in the USA and another 18,000 people are treated for injuries from falling TVs. According to Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, every three weeks a child dies from a tipped-over TV.

According to the CPSC report, TVs aren’t the only dangerous household item:

  • More than 43,000 people are hurt each year as the result of TVs or furniture tipping over, with more than 25,000 of those hurt being children.
  • Between 2000 and 2011, 349 people were killed when TVs, furniture or appliances toppled over onto them; 84 percent of them were children younger than age 9.
  •  Falling TVs caused 62 percent of the 349 deaths, making it the most dangerous piece of furniture.
  • In 2011, 41 fatalities were recorded, an increase from 31 in 2010 and 27 in 2009.

Why is this becoming such a serious issue? Experts say as families buy newer, thinner, lighter televisions for their family rooms or living rooms, the older, heavier TVs are being relegated to children’s bedrooms or basements where they may not be as secure, sitting on a dresser or other large piece of furniture.

According to a survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide in September, 3 percent of parents had secured traditional cathode ray tube TVs to walls and furniture, just 5 percent had secured flat-screen sets to furniture and 28 percent had attached them to walls, which experts say is the safest choice. But if you can’t anchor your TV to the wall, experts suggest you place your TV on a low, sturdy base and remove any items from the top of the TV such as remotes that might attract children.

Many of the children who are injured or killed in these accidents as the result of playing near a TV or furniture, or because they are climbing on the furniture. The personal injury attorneys of Elk & Elk want you and your family to be safe, which is why we urge anyone with children in their home to make sure that TVs and large pieces of furniture are secure.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Ohio personal injury attorneys of Elk & Elk today at 1-800-ELK-OHIO or by filling out our online consultation form.


Lorain woman survives train-car accident

By Arthur Elk

Did you know that every two hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train somewhere in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were about 2,000 vehicle-train crashes in 2011 causing 271 deaths and about 1,000 injuries.

This weekend, an Ohio woman was lucky enough to survive after the car she was driving on Oberlin Road in Amherst Township was struck by a train.

Miriam Matesic, 78, of Lorain was injured Sunday afternoon when her car was struck by a train at a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing. She was taken by medical helicopter to MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland.

In my nearly four decades as an attorney, I have seen incidents where people disregard warning signs or gates and try to outrun an oncoming train, resulting in an accident. But there are also many cases where railroad crossings are improperly marked or warning lights do not function properly. Some crossings are poorly lit or even completely unlit. Railroad companies are responsible for making sure all their crossings are as safe as possible and all warning devices are functioning properly. When they don’t, they must be held accountable.

No matter the cause of the accident, train accidents can be deadly and have long-term consequences for victims and their families. At Elk & Elk, we have experienced train accident attorneys and we work with leading experts from around the world in railroad accident reconstruction.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a railroad accident, please contact us today. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online form and find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.



Winter weather causes multiple accidents, closing I-90

By Arthur Elk

Whiteout conditions and icy roads caused more than 22 accidents Wednesday afternoon on a 20-mile stretch of I-90 in Northeast Ohio.

According to the Chardon post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, lanes in both directions were closed at State Route 44 in Concord Township. Hundreds of motorists were stranded for hours as emergency crews and law enforcement personnel worked to clear the road.

I watched the news and images from the scene were horrific. One car was trapped between two semis. A big rig ended up on top of a Volkswagen Bug. Dozens of vehicles were crushed and mangled from the collisions.

In spite of how bad the accident looked and the incredibly large number of vehicles involved, the Highway Patrol said there were no serious injuries.

All of these people were very lucky that they were able to walk away from and survive these accidents. As a personal injury attorney, I’ve seen the deadly results of motor vehicle accidents too many times. Lives lost, families devastated and futures cut short. Many accidents can be avoided if people simply planned ahead and used a little extra caution when behind the wheel.

It’s important to give yourself a little extra time when you are traveling on snow-covered roads. Don’t be in such a hurry to get somewhere that you have to drive faster than you should, and end up causing an accident. Always assume that the road that only looks wet might actually be ice-covered, too. And most importantly, keep your attention on the road, not on your cell phone or GPS.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call us today at 1-800-ELK-OHIO or check out our website to find out how we can help you.