The holidays may be the happiest time of the year for some people, but they also happen to be the germiest time of year for almost everyone.

It just so happens that flu season, unfortunately, coincides with the time of year where people are out in masses, shopping for gifts, celebrating with loved ones and enjoying the magic of the Christmas season. Of course, with the rush of the holiday season also comes stress and anxiety which leave our bodies vulnerable to the flu virus.

The contagious nature of this virus makes flu prevention a crucial concept.

In order to protect ourselves from this illness that kills 36,000 people a year, according to the Center for Disease Control, first, we must understand what it is.

What is the flu?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness that ranges in severity. The flu virus infects the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. The illness is spread to others through contact, and experts believe it can spread up to six feet away. Most doctors believe that the flu virus is spread by droplets made when infected people cough, sneeze or talk.

It’s rare, but a person may also become infected by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it.

The flu is contagious

Most healthy adults can infect others as early as 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Symptoms only begin to reveal themselves 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body, which means you can pass on the flu to someone else before you even realize you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can even be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms, making it impossible to know if the virus is being spread.

Flu symptoms

Each person is unique, and so is their immune system, which is why symptoms can vary from person to person, but they often include:

Fever

Cough

Sore throat

Stuffed up nose

Body aches

Chills

Fatigue

Diarrhea

Vomiting

Can the flu be treated?

The answer is yes! *insert sigh of relief* Antiviral medication is used to treat the flu. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, as they are prescribed medicines and are not available over the counter. These drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. It is important that if using antiviral drugs to treat the flu virus, you use it early enough. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatments when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. 

High-risk sufferers: Nursing home patients

Although influenza affects persons of all ages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified several groups who are at increased risk for complications. One such group is residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. During influenza epidemics, mortality rates among nursing home residents often exceed 5 percent. To lessen the impact of this infection, the influenza vaccine is recommended as the primary way of preventing the illness and its complications. Many studies have shown that vaccination of nursing home residents and staff can significantly decrease rates of hospitalization, pneumonia, and related mortality.

It is vitally important that staff members are also vaccinated against the virus, as higher vaccination levels among personnel have been associated with a lower risk of nursing home facility flu outbreaks.

Even when it’s not flu season, nursing home facilities should be testing residents with signs and symptoms that may be caused by the flu.

The cost of the flu

In 2012, Americans missed more than 70 million workdays because of the flu, which costs $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity to employers, and its not only employers who lose money when it comes to the flu. If you have insurance, expect to pay out around $130 for your flu by the time you add up a doctors visit, prescription drugs and over-the-counter. No insurance? Expect to pay around $100 just for medicine alone.

Flu prevention

The CDC urges Americans to take 3 vital steps to take action against the flu virus:

1. Take time to get the flu vaccine: While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. Vaccination also is important for healthcare workers, and other people who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.

2. Take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs: While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them: Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high-risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

 

 

 

As you trim your tree and deck the halls this Christmas, it’s essential to ensure your indoor decorations and traditions are safe and healthy for the entire family.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that each year, 12,800 people visit hospital emergency rooms for a variety of holiday-related issues, such as faulty holiday lights, falls, and more.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your indoor decorations.

1. Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in an average of 10 deaths, 40 injuries and nearly $7 million in property damage and loss, the CPSC says.

Follow these simple steps to avoid fire hazards:

Buy a fire-resistant tree to allow for it to be extinguished quickly.

Never light candles near a tree or in a tree.

Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace, which could cause a flash fire.

Do not leave lights on throughout the night. A short could start a fire.

Keep children and pets safe.

Keep children and pets away from tinsel, as it may contain poisonous lead.

Keep sharp or breakable ornaments away from the bottom of the tree.

Avoid trimmings at the bottom with small parts or that resemble candy.

Be sure to clean any fallen pine needles from the tree.

You should always place a Christmas tree away from your fireplace, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards

Common Tree Safety Questions

What does UL Listed Mean?

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization. For more than 110 years they have been testing products and writing Standards for Safety. Over 19,000 types of products receive testing annually, and more than 20 billion UL Marks appear on products each year. Worldwide, UL’s family of companies and its network of service providers include 62 laboratories and testing and certification facilities.

What is the NFPA?

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The international nonprofit organization’s mission is to reduce the global burden of fire and other hazards.

2. Choking On Tinsel Or Garland

Garland and tinsel are common holiday decorations that can pose a serious choking hazard to young children.

Make sure that you hang them out of reach of small children. Secure them to walls and ceiling fixtures to keep them from falling into range.

3. Christmas Light Safety

Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire. To avoid shock or electrocution.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

Only use lights that have fuse plugs.

Check each set of lights for cracked sockets, frayed or loose wires and burned-out bulbs.

Do not use more than three sets of lights stranded together.

Never pull or yank lights when removing them.

4. Keep An Eye On The Candles

Keep all candles and matches out of reach of children. Also, be mindful of where you place your decorative, seasonal candles. If you put them on top of a table with a tablecloth, make sure children are unable to pull the tablecloth down.

Remember to put candles in well-ventilated areas with nothing directly on top, behind, or in front of the flame.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

At The Carlson Law Firm, we want you and your family to be as safe as possible this holiday season. If you or a loved was involved in an accident caused by faulty indoor decorations, you may have options for compensation. Contact the attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation. We care. We can help.

Unpredictable traffic patterns and distracted drivers cause thousands of parking lot accidents that cost consumers millions of dollars each year. According to State Farm, parking lot accidents increase by 20 percent during the busy holiday season.

With people across the county hustling to get their Christmas shopping done in time, mall parking lots have become a zoo. Because of this, the risk of car accidents and pedestrian accidents in parking lots are higher during this time of the year.

How To Avoid A Parking Lot Accident

According to safety advocates, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind to make sure you’re holiday shopping goes as smoothly as possible.

Watch for cars cutting diagonally across lots; drive slowly, keep inside the designated drive path and use your turn signal.

Be visible. When pulling into a parking lot or parking garage, make sure your car’s headlights are turned on to make sure other drivers can see your vehicle.

When backing out of a parking spot, be aware of waiting cars, others who are backing out at the same time and motorists who speed through lanes.

During the day, park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from other car doors or shopping carts and the likelihood of vandalism; but avoid secluded areas, especially at night.

Park in well-lit areas. If the lot is inadequately lit, complain to management. Retailers and parking-lot owners can be and have been held liable for personal injury in these cases.

Pay attention when you get out of your car to walk to the store. Use crosswalks and walkways when possible and look out for traffic and back-up lights.

The Most Common Causes Of Parking Lot Accidents

Drivers are often times busy looking for an open parking spot and don’t always notice pedestrians.

Most drivers will pull straight into a parking spot, which requires them to reverse out. Reversing creates more blind spots.

Traffic laws differ in parking lots so there tends to be more reckless behavior and confusion.

What The Carlson Law Firm Can Do To Help

Although parking lot accidents may seem less severe than collisions and accidents that occur on busier freeways and roads, they can still have serious repercussions. The vulnerability of pedestrians and the unexpected nature of parking lot accidents can leave victims and their families with severe injuries and accompanying struggles.

In addition to parking lot collisions and crashes involving vehicles, parking lot slip and falls can also cause life-changing injuries.

If you or someone you love has endured life-changing injuries that have made it difficult to support yourself and your family financially and affected your quality of life, call our pedestrian accident lawyers at The Carlson Law Firm. Our team has the resources, experience, and passion for helping you and your loved ones focus on getting back on your feet while seeking fair compensation. We care. We can help.

The Carlson Law Firm is once again proud to sponsor the 20th Annual Jingle Bell 5K in Austin, Texas.

Join us on December 10th as we run (and walk!) to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The event will be held at The Domain, rain or shine. Festivities will kick off at 8 am.

The annual Austin Jingle Bell 5K includes a family-friendly Kids Elf Fun Run. And this year, Santa is sending some elves to join in the fun!

The first 1,000 registrants are guaranteed a newly designed event athletic shirt that wicks away the sweat! The top 3 runners in each of the divisions will receive a medal based on their finish! All kids 12 and under will receive their very own participation medal! Don’t delay and register your family today!

Oh and don’t forget your Santa hat and jingle bells!

Online Registration

http://austinjinglebell.com/contact/

http://www.yellowcheetah.com/event/1015

Race Day Details

Event Date: December 10, 2017
Kid’s Fun Run: 8:00AM
Adult/Youth 5K: 8:30AM
Location: The Domain 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758

About MADD

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving, drugged driving, and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local MADD victim advocates and our 24-Hour Victim Helpline 1-877-MADD-HELP.

 

The Carlson Law Firm is pleased to announce we have successfully secured $130,000 for a client injured by the negligent driver of an 18-wheeler.

On August 22nd, 2015, our client was traveling along IH-10 in El Paso, According to our client, the 18-wheeler executed a negligent lane change, causing the massive truck to strike our client’s vehicle, which then crashed into median retention wires. The car was totaled.

At the time of the crash, our client was the full-time caregiver for his elderly mother and a part-time film writer. After sustaining severe injuries to his neck and back, he was unable to provide the home aid needs of his mother and additionally incurred the loss of income through the home aid agency where he was employed.

Once our client received a copy of the police report that placed his actions as the primary contributing cause of the collision, which incorrectly stated he didn’t have his headlights on at the time of the incident, he contacted The Carlson Law Firm immediately.

Following a lengthy investigation, which included the hiring of an expert accident reconstructionist to exam our client’s vehicle, we determined that our client did, in fact, have his lights on during the time of impact.

This investigation was a turning point in the case.

“This case is an example of the extra mile that our firm will take to prove our client’s case,” said Attorney Kathryn Knotts, “We don’t simply rely on a responding law enforcement officer’s opinion, instead we take the additional steps to identify witnesses and when necessary, retain scientific experts to prove our case. We do this because we believe in our clients.”

The settlement funds will help our client pay for his medical expenses, which totaled $70,000. He will be able to continue chiropractic care and physical therapy. It will also provide financial resources for him at times when he is not physically in a condition to care for his mother.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

If you’re the victim of an 18-wheeler accident, don’t let another moment pass without an experienced advocate on your side to protect your rights and fight for your recovery. The skilled personal injury attorneys are The Carlson Law Firm will be by your side, every step of the way, when proving a crash caused by a negligent driver.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation. We care. We can help.

Toy Safety Tips For Parents

On Christmas morning, children all over the world will wake up with smiling faces to toys awaiting them under the tree. Most of the time, this is a joyous occasion, however, the joy of new toys can take a turn when you realize a new study has revealed that approximately 18 children are sent to the emergency room every hour for a toy-related injury. Parents should be aware of the dangers of toys to avoid serious injury, by following a few simple toy safety tips.

Toy Safety Product Liability Lawsuits

When parents purchase toys for their children, they trust that the products have been rigorously tested to meet safety standards. The reality is, this is not always the case, and that is when a Product Liability attorney comes in. The companies that manufacture these defective and dangerous toys need to be held to the highest standard of quality and safety because if they aren’t, it is our children who suffer the most. When manufacturers do not adhere to regulations set in place, and children are hurt, parents may file a product liability lawsuit.

A successful product liability attorney will build a case that not only compensates injured victims but also serves as a balance that requires the manufacturer of the defective product to fully realize the costs that their defective product has placed on society.

How The Toy Safety Attorneys At Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Our team of dedicated and experienced product liability attorneys knows what it takes to prosecute a product liability claim. We will take on the time-consuming task of researching all components leading to the injury. The child injury and product liability attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm will go the extra mile to uncover the causes of your child’s injuries and seek every bit of the compensation to which you and your family are entitled to your child’s injury or death.

Contact our firm immediately to discuss your potential legal options. We care. We can help.

For many of us, the holiday season is synonymous with stress, and the anxiety of battling last-minute crowds at the mall, trying to find the perfect gift for every last person on your list.

But not you-you’re a holiday planning superstar. Your halls are decked, your stockings hung, and all of your gifts follow the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recommendations for safe toys and gifts.

Wait…product safety recommendations?

Have you ever stopped to consider the very serious risks involved in giving unsafe holiday toys? Each year more than 250,000 children are treated at hospitals for toy-related injuries.

Although the consequences are severe, prevention is as simple as following a few safety guidelines when shopping for the perfect holiday gift.

Before you purchase a toy:

Read all warnings and instructions on the box.

Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.

Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.

Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.

Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.

Before letting children play with toys:

Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction.

Explain how to use the toy.

Fix or throw away broken toys.

Always:

Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.

Supervise your children while playing.

Store toys appropriately after play to avoid risks or falls.

Supervise children’s craft projects (scissors and glue can be extremely dangerous to a child’s eyesight).

Have children wear the right eye protection for sports (face shields, helmets, eye guards).

You should always consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game. It’s worth a second to read the instructions and warning labels to make sure it’s just right for your child.

Toy Safety For Children Under 3

Avoid buying toys intended for older children that may have small parts that pose a choking danger, as children under 3 tend to put everything in their mouths.

No child should ever play with deflated balloons because they pose a very serious choking hazard.

Avoid marbles, balls, and games with balls that have a diameter of 1.75 inches or less. These products also pose a choking hazard to young children.

Children at this age pull, prod and twist toys. Look for toys that are well-made with tightly secured eyes, noses, and other parts.

Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Toy Safety For Children Ages 3 to 5

Avoid toys constructed with thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.

Look for household art materials, including crayons and paint sets, marked with the designation “ASTM D-4236.” This label means the product was reviewed for chronic health hazards and, if necessary, the product was labeled with cautionary information.

Teach older children to keep their toys away from their younger brothers and sisters.

Toy Safety For Children Ages 6 to 12

If buying a toy gun, be sure the barrel, or the entire gun, is brightly colored so that it’s not mistaken for a real gun.

If you buy a bicycle for any age child, buy a helmet, too, and make sure the child wears it.

Teach all children to put toys away when they’re finished playing so they don’t trip over them or fall on them

Toy Safety Product Liability Lawsuits

When parents purchase toys for their children, they trust that the products have been rigorously tested to meet safety standards. The reality is, this is not always the case, and that is when a Product Liability attorney comes in. The companies that manufacture these defective and dangerous toys need to be held to the highest standard of quality and safety because if they aren’t, it is our children who suffer the most. When manufacturers do not adhere to regulations set in place, and children are hurt, parents may file a product liability lawsuit.

A successful product liability attorney will build a case that not only compensates injured victims but also serves as a balance that requires the manufacturer of the defective product to fully realize the costs that their defective product has placed on society.

How The Toy Safety Attorneys At Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Our team of dedicated and experienced product liability attorneys knows what it takes to prosecute a product liability claim. We will take on the time-consuming task of researching all components leading to the injury. The child injury and product liability attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm will go the extra mile to uncover the causes of your child’s injuries and seek every bit of the compensation to which you and your family are entitled to your child’s injury or death.

Contact our firm immediately to discuss your potential legal options. We care. We can help.

Planning to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday to visit with family and friend? You won’t be alone. A whopping 51 million Americans are taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails, and waterways this Thanksgiving, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. Some even predict that travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding motorists to make safety a priority and to enjoy the holiday weekend responsibly.

The first step to a safe holiday is to make sure vehicles are properly maintained before the trip if something should occur.

To do so, DPS recommends checking windshield wipers, making sure tires are properly inflated, and the vehicle has a full tank of gas, and storing an emergency kit, spare tire, water, extra food and a blanket.

The next step to a safe and happy holiday is to make sure you are well rested before travel.

“Fatigue is a big issue with a lot of our crashes,” the organization said.

DPS also suggests stopping at well-lighted Texas Department of Transportation facilities or cities along your route to allow yourself a break after spending hours on the road.

Planning a route around well-traveled and familiar areas is the safest way to drive as unexpected curves and wildlife may create additional dangers, they add.

And as always, motorists should eliminate all distractions inside the vehicle as well, such as mobile devices. Distracted driving is quickly becoming the number one cause of fatal traffic incidents in Texas.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Staying safe on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday is essential, and drivers should drive cautiously and be aware of other drivers around them. However, if a tragedy strikes and you or a loved one are killed or injured in one of these auto-accidents over the holiday, contact the Carlson Law Firm because our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys are ready to help you and your family.

The numbers don’t lie. With more than 65,000 house fires attributed to heating equipment each year, it’s no wonder why heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. The main culprit; space heaters.

Small space heaters are typically used when the main heating system is inadequate or when central heating is too costly to install or operate.

When considering purchasing and using an item such as a space heater, it is important to be cautious, and consider the potential hazard first.

Common Injuries By Space Heater

House fires caused by space heaters are responsible for more than 300 deaths a year, in addition to an estimated 6,000 hospital emergency room visits for burn injuries.

Burns: Thermal burns are burns to the skin caused by an external heat source. The type of burn and the severity of the burn depends on the number of layers of skin affected. When it comes to space heaters, the location of the heating coil matters, especially if you have children or pets. If you can, try to choose a space heater with a stand that doesn’t get hot, or place it on top of a floor protector. It may also be wise to install a gate or guard around the heater to keep children safe.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood may produce CO. If such appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, CO may accumulate to dangerous and even deadly levels in cars, homes, or poorly ventilated areas. The majority of space heaters today are electric, but some models still use fuel to keep the heat going. If you have one that uses fuel, make sure fumes are properly vented outside. Those kinds of heaters produce carbon monoxide and there is a chance this gas can become hazardous to your family. To be safe, when using a fuel-operated space heater you should also ensure all carbon monoxide detectors are installed and functioning properly.

Avoiding Accidents

According to Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Communications at the National Fire Prevention Association, half of fatal home space heater fires started because something was too close to the heater and ignited. She encourages all users to keep heaters and items that can catch fire at least three feet apart.

Heating fires and the deaths they cause can usually be prevented with awareness and a few simple actions:

Look For Safety Certifications: Portable space heaters that are listed by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) have been tested, proven, and certified to meet specific safety standards. The manufacturers of these heaters are also required to provide important information about the safe usage and care of their products.

Also, look for specific safety features that will shut the unit off under certain conditions. These can include:

Overheating
Low oxygen levels (oxygen depletion sensor)
Tip-over switch
Touch sensor (if the grill is touched)

Size Really Does Matter: Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.

Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Purchase: Frequently clean and maintain your space heater to ensure it’s working safely. Wiping yours down will also help reduce the amount of dust and allergens that may be dispersed around your space. Of course, never use a defective heater.

Watch For Recalls: The government-run Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) monitors product recalls issued by companies and helps facilitate the circulation of the needed information to the public. According to the information available through the CPSC, almost every year recalls of a few types of space heaters have been recorded, most often for a possible fire hazard, burn hazard or scald hazard.

If your space heater is defective, no warnings or precautions will be enough to prevent disaster through proper use. If you’re injured by a defective heater, the lawyers at The Carlson Law Firm can help.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If you’ve been injured due to a defective space heater, our team of burn injury lawyers has the experience required to help you. We will protect your rights by pursuing the manufacturer’s liability.

Contact The Carlson Law firm by phone or online to schedule your free consultation. We don’t collect a penny unless we’re successful in recovering the compensation to which you’re entitled.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Two-year-old Felipe James Tomas was killed when the vehicle he was in rolled in southwest Kansas. The accident happened Sunday in Meade County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports a 2001 Chevy Suburban was heading west when the driver lost control on a curve. The SUV went into a ditch and rolled.

Tomas, of Friona, Texas, was taken to Meade District Hospital where he later died. The Patrol reports he was sitting in a car seat but appeared to have not been buckled up.

Two others in the vehicle, 34-year-old Vicente Tomas-Tino and 23-year-old Isabel Solis-Gomez, were taken to the hospital for treatment of possible injuries.

Car Seat Failure Injury Attorneys

In 2013, 638 children ages 12 and younger died in motor vehicle crashes and more than 127,250 were injured according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States.

While appropriate safety devices can keep your child safe in an accident, defective car seats can lead to injuries that could have been prevented. In some auto accidents, it can appear that a child was not properly restrained in a car seat, however in some cases, the child was restrained by the car seat failed upon impact.

How the Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

If your child or somebody you know was injured or killed in a car accident because of a defective child car seat, contact the Carlson Law Firm today. Our team of dedicated and experienced car seat failure lawyers is willing to assist you and answer your questions and concerns. No child and family should ever have to bear the consequences of a tragedy that could have been prevented, and we are ready to help you.