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In this issue:
The Shiftworker and Drowsy Driving
Without a doubt the shiftworker faces a challenge when it comes to driving after working their shift. Shiftworkers are constantly fighting their biological clock and this can leave them in a very fatigue state to start their drive home especially after working the night shift.
Who Is Most At Risk?
All Drivers who Are:
Sleep-deprived. (Shiftworkers would fall into this category)
Driving long distances without rest breaks.
Driving through the night or at other times when they are normally asleep
Taking medication that increases sleepiness or drinking alcohol
Driving on long, rural, boring roads
Frequent travelers, e.g., business travelers
25 million Americans are rotating shift workers. Studies suggest that 20 to 30% of those with nontraditional work schedules have had a fatigue-related driving mishap within the last year. The drive home from work after the night shift is likely to be a particularly dangerous one.
Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people, who tend to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive at night.
Truck drivers are especially susceptible to fatigue-related crashes. In addition to the high number of miles driven each year, many truckers may drive during the night when the body is sleepiest.
People with Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders
The presence of a sleep disorder increases the risk of crashes.
Disorders such as chronic insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, all of which lead to excessive sleepiness. Most people with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep apnea occurs in 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women. The disorder is associated with a three to seven time increase in crash risk.
FACTS ABOUT DROWSY DRIVING
About 1.5% of all crashes involve drowsiness/fatigue as a principal causal factor. A conservative estimate of related fatalities is 4% of all traffic crash fatalities.
Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes. One-sixth of all crashes are thought to be produced by driver inattention/lapses. Sleep deprivation and fatigue make such lapses of attention more likely to occur.
In a recent postal survey of 9,000 male drivers in Britain, in which 51% responded (4,600), the drivers attributed 7% of their crashes in the previous three years to tiredness (sleepiness and/or fatigue).
At the recent National Truck Safety Summit, organized by the Federal Highway Administration, and involving representatives from government, industry and the research community, driver fatigue was designated the number one priority for truck safety.
People tend to fall asleep more on high-speed, long, boring, rural highways. For example, New York police estimate that 30% of all fatal crashes along the New York Thruway occurred because the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
It is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness because there is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication.
What Are Effective Countermeasures?
Before motorists embark on their trips, they should:
Get a good nights sleep. While this varies from individual to individual, the average person requires about 8 hours of sleep a night. With a shiftworker this is not a luxury they can always have.
Plan to drive long trips with a companion. Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue or switch drivers when needed. Passengers should stay awake to talk to the driver.
Schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or 2 hours.
Avoid alcohol and medications that may impair performance.
Consult their physicians or a local sleep disorders center for diagnosis and treatment if they suffer frequent daytime sleepiness, have difficulty sleeping at night often, and/or snore loudly every night.
Actions for the Drowsy Driver
Once driving, motorists should look for the warning signs of fatigue:
can't remember the last few miles driven
drift from their lanes
experience wandering disconnected thoughts
have difficulty focusing or keeping their eyes open
tailgate or miss traffic signs
have trouble keeping their head up
keep jerking their vehicles back into the lane
recognize that they are in danger of falling asleep.
respond to symptoms of fatigue by finding a safe place to stop.
take a brief nap (20 to 40 minutes) if tired.
Research has been conducted to compare sleepy drivers with drunk drivers. In an ABC news Prime Time segment researcher Drew Dawson indicated that between 03:00 am and 07:00 am most of the people in his study showed a performance impairment greater than the blood alcohol concentration that you would not be allowed to drive a car with. This indicates that a drowsy/fatigued driver is just if not worse on the road than a driver that is over the allowable alcohol limit.
For a quiz on
Safe a Sleeper are You? from the National Sleep Foundation
adapted from National Sleep Foundation Drowsy Driving Fact Sheet
Summer has arrived and as a result precautions should be taken against the sun.
One advantage of being a shiftworker is while on nights we are trying to sleep during the worst time for sunburn exposure. Theres always a bright side to everything.
Minimize sun exposure:
Plan your activities before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m. when sun rays
are the weakest. (Consult the UV Index for daily forecasts of UV intensity.)
That's when UV-B rays are most intense and can cause serious sunburn.
From April through September, practice sun protection behaviors when you are outdoors, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
In winter, practice sun protection behaviors during periods of
extended exposure, and/or when you are near fresh/bright snow.
When visiting warmer climates, remember that UV radiation is more intense there and sun protection is especially important.
There is no such thing as a "healthy" tan. Tanning parlours and sunlamps are not a safe way to tan.
Seek shade, especially during the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. window.
Work towards creating shade in the form of shelters, canopies and trees.
Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs.
Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face and neck.
Wear sunglasses that absorb UV radiation.
Sunscreens should be used in conjunction with shade, clothing, hats and sunglasses, not instead of them.
Sunscreens are not intended to lengthen the time spent in the sun, but to reduce exposure and provide some protection from sunburn when people need to be in the sun.
Use a sunscreen with SPF #15 or higher, and which has both UVA and UVB protection.
- It is important that you make sure the expiration date of the sun screen has not been exceeded.
- Sun screen will loose some of its effectiveness if kept in a hot location for a period of time. (example glove compartment). Try to keep lotion in cool place.
- Apply sun screen lightly. It has been shown that 25 percent of its effectiveness can be lost rubbing the lotion in aggressively. It is best to just smooth it on lightly, not going over the skin area more than six times.
Children have thinner skin than adults and are more sensitive to UV rays. Children and teenagers also spend more time in the sun, especially in the summer. It has been estimated that up to 80% of a person's total UV life dose is received before age 18. In fact, two or more serious sunburns as a child or adolescent significantly increases the risk of getting skin cancer later in life.
Certain medications, like tetracycline, may increase your skin's sensitivity to UV rays and cause adverse reactions. Check with your doctor if you take certain medications on a regular basis.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in
Canada: an estimated 62,500 Canadians will develop the disease this year,
and that number is rising rapidly. But the reason for the increase in the
incidence of skin cancer over the last 20 to 30 years is probably due to
over-exposure to the sun earlier in life, and not to the thinning of the
Examine your skin regularly for any changes in moles, freckles or skin discoloration. Talk to your doctor if you notice anything different.
- adapted from Health Canada's `Health and Fun in the Sun'
Lemon Short Change Squares
Here is another low fat recipe for you. These squares are quick and easy to make even when your shift schedule indicates a short change.
1 cup sifted flour
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lowfat cream cheese
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup lemon juice
1&1/2 tbsp. grated lemon rind
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray 8inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
Using pastry blender, cut cream cheese into flour mixture until crumbly.
Gradually add oil, stirring with a fork. (The mixture will be crumbly.) Press into bottom of prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until light brown.
While the crust is baking, in mixing bowl, beat egg whites, sugar and lemon rind until smooth.
In separate bowl, mix together 2 Tablespoons flour and baking powder. Add to egg white mixture and blend. Stir in lemon juice.
Pour filling over hot crust.
Return to oven and bake 20 minutes longer or until the top is golden brown and set.
Dust top with additional powdered sugar.
Makes 20 squares.
Nutrition information per square: 90 Calories; 3 g fat (30% fat).
(adapted from How Should I Feed My Child? By S. Nissenberg, et al.)
Thats it for this issue.
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