If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is most often found in babies and children, but since it’s a highly contagious disease that labs and doctor’s offices have to report to local health departments, we do see it in employees from time to time. When an employee is exposed, usually by their child, they’re often prescribed prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection. If they have symptoms, they’ll need to stay out until they’re symptom-free, which can take 1-2 weeks. If they’re asymptomatic and have started antibiotics, we recommend keeping them out for five days while they begin antibiotics while they monitor themself for symptoms or until their doctor says they can return.
Once it becomes readily available over the counter, we’re likely to recommend both adding naloxone (aka Narcan) to your first aid kit and ensuring that your employees are trained in how to use it. We’re seeing a major rise in drug overdoses in retail businesses and restaurants, and Narcan can reverse the effects of an overdose that might otherwise be fatal. It’s a literal lifesaver, and we think it will soon be standard, like AEDs.
Yes, we’re seeing more and more of this. We had seen a dip during COVID restrictions, and we’re fairly sure that what we’re seeing now is a combination of increased access to semi-public bathrooms and the unprecedented rise in drug use over the past few years. Back in 2017, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy found that 58% of business managers surveyed in New York City had encountered drug use in their bathrooms, with more than a third finding syringes. Almost none of them had naloxone (Narcan) training. In another study from NYC, nearly 60% of drug users reported injecting in a semi-public location like a restaurant bathroom. These numbers have almost certainly increased since those studies, highlighting the need for training and emergency response plans related to drug use and drug overdoses, as well as clean-up procedures. If you need help developing your company’s procedures, ZHH can help.
Blue lights are sometimes used in public bathrooms to deter intravenous drug use because they make it harder to see veins. One small study from Canada interviewed drug users, who shared that blue lights would not likely stop them from using a bathroom to inject drugs and might make doing so more dangerous by risking vein damage or infections. This can actually increase the risk of blood droplets in the bathroom, making the risk of transmitting other bloodborne pathogens higher. Instead of blue lights, some businesses are making it as safe as possible for drug users by installing sharps containers and outward swinging doors so people can reach those who overdose in a stall. Others don’t want to encourage use on the property. Anecdotally, the most effective method we’ve heard of is sending employees to check on people in the bathroom periodically. As we mentioned before, having Narcan and training employees to use it is a key tool in the arsenal, as well.