Cedric Fernando, MD: How to Stay Safe at Work

Cedric Fernando, MD, is an occupational health physician in Unicoi County, Tennessee, where he performs all aspects of workplace health evaluations and treatments as the Medical Director of the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Occupational Health Department. Here, he offers guidelines on how to stay safe at your job.

Workplace safety is an important issue in many professions. Safe workplace practices are crucial not only in traditionally “dangerous” jobs such as construction, but also in office jobs. The best ways to preserve health and prevent injury while at work are to become familiar with the specific safety guidelines for your workplace and to take commonsense health maintenance measures.

Practice safe techniques for lifting heavy equipment or boxes, and adjust equipment to fit your physiology. Remember to take short breaks for stretching or to drink water if you are outside in the heat. Repetitive motion of any type, whether typing at a computer or carrying heavy objects, can cause injury. Prevent repetitive motion injuries by changing your motions and taking breaks.

A healthy lifestyle will also help prevent workplace injury. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, getting sufficient sleep, and not working under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Cedric Fernando, MD: Reducing Work-Related Stress and Finding a Work-Life Balance

Work-related stress is one of the most under-recognized occupational health risks. While research has shown that prolonged stress can cause health problems, few workers are aware of how to reduce work-related stress. Occupational health and family physician Cedric Fernando, MD, discusses methods for reducing this stress.

Some work-related stress is caused by the employee-supervisor relationship. The best way for employees to improve their relationship with their manager is to communicate with candor and respect. In addition to doing the best job possible, employees should strive to address issues as soon as they arise, manage their emotions, and have a confident and positive attitude.

As more and more people struggle with work invading their personal lives, finding a balance between the two is key to success and well-being. If, after evaluating your relationship to your work, you find that work takes precedence over your health and time with loved ones, it may be time to reconsider your priorities. Don’t be afraid to say no if you need to, and learn to manage your time.

Reducing stress and finding equilibrium between work and life are two of the most important things people can do to improve their health and quality of life.

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Occupational Health

By Cedric Fernando, MD

As a practitioner in occupational health, Cedric Fernando, MD, focuses on a wide range of workplace-related illnesses and injuries. There is a great need for medical care in this field, since about 13 workers die each day on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This represents a decrease of 65 percent in four decades.

As defined by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), maintaining occupational health involves identifying chemicals, physical factors, and other threats to safety and wellness on the job. Examples include metals such as mercury and lead and dangers from heavy machinery and electricity. Falls and electrocution demonstrate the need for greater attention to accident prevention.

OSHA offers many programs to teach workplace safety. The topics range from respiratory protection and hazardous materials to electrical standards and disaster response. OSHA also provides grants for nonprofits to devise their own curricula.

About the Author:

Cedric Fernando, MD, treats individuals with workers’ compensation needs, operates a drug-testing program, and facilitates occupational health programs for industries in Erwin, Tennessee.

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The Clarendon Foundation Assists Sri Lanka’s Children

By Cedric Fernando, MD

A committed group of individuals founded the Clarendon Foundation with the mission of assisting the poor in Sri Lanka, particularly children. Foundation volunteers gather support for this mission through fundraisers, monthly giving programs, and one-time gifts. Since its inception in 1990, the Clarendon Foundation has raised more than a million dollars.

In 1990, the Clarendon Foundation founded a home catering primarily to orphaned children, many of whom lost their parents during civil unrest or, more recently, in the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. In addition to shelter, the home supplies children with food, clothing, health care, and education. Thirty former residents of the home continue to receive support from the Foundation to ensure that they complete their educational goals and locate employment. In a similar program in another area of Sri Lanka, the Foundation supports 12 children at a home operated by the non-profit organization Better Opportunities for Children.

The Clarendon Foundation contributes to a host of other life-changing programs, including Hepatitis A vaccinations, renovations of children’s homes, support for the home care of cancer patients, funding for heart surgeries, and many other worthwhile causes.

About the Author: Cedric Fernando, MD, contributes to the Clarendon Foundation. In his professional life, Dr. Fernando holds the position of Medical Director for the Occupational Health program at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital in Erwin, Tennessee.

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Cedric Fernando, M.D., on Scientists’ Work Toward an Artificial Pancreas

Dr. Cedric Fernando has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine since 1987. He also works at the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital in Erwin, Tennessee.

Through two new studies, scientists have taken further steps toward developing the first artificial pancreas. The new device would constantly monitor blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 diabetes and carefully calibrate insulin levels to their needs.

In type 1 diabetes, a patient’s immune system attacks the pancreas, destroying the body’s ability to produce insulin. Currently, people with type 1 diabetes try to predict how much insulin they will need over the course of a day and inject the insulin themselves. If they give themselves too much, they can cause lasting physical harm, and if they give themselves too little, they can die. Many people with type 1 diabetes, especially children, have difficulty maintaining proper insulin levels.

In one recent study, researchers used a computer-controlled system to keep children in their ideal blood sugar range for five hours overnight, compared to three hours with a parent-directed insulin pump. Another study used an automated system to predict changes in blood glucose levels and deliver the appropriate amount of insulin.

Although these studies are preliminary, scientists hope to create an artificial pancreas within five to ten years.

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Dr. Cedric Fernando on Whether Middle-Aged Fitness Can Fight Chronic Disease

A new study suggests that middle age may be an excellent time to exercise, especially if you care about avoiding chronic disease in old age. Researchers found that people who lead an active life in their 30s, 40s, and 50s were less likely to suffer from diseases like diabetes as they aged. For every 20 percent someone increased his fitness level, he or she saw a 20 percent drop in his or her risk of chronic disease. The relationship between fitness and disease held true for both men and women.

The scientists also found that physical fitness did not seem to confer a longer life. Rather, it just ensured that people would be healthier as they aged. While less fit adults were likely to suffer from lung and heart problems and endure a slow decline, the adults who exercised in middle age stayed healthy and active until they died suddenly. Researchers recommend that middle-aged adults engage in two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week in order to preserve their health into old age.

About the Author: Dr. Cedric Fernando practices medicine in Tennessee. Dr. Fernando serves as Medical Director for the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Occupational Health Department in Erwin.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor During a Physical

By Dr. Cedric Fernando

Dr. Cedric Fernando performs a variety of pre-employment evaluations in the Occupational Health Department at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, including annual physicals. Annual physicals provide an excellent opportunity for patients to speak to their physicians about personal health topic. When you visit your physician for a physical, make sure to ask your physician about the following subjects in addition to other questions that come to mind.

Q: What should I expect at a physical?

Generally, physicals consist of the same gamut of tests: listening to the patient’s heart and lungs, taking weight and blood pressure, examining the abdominal area, and checking hearing. For occupational physicals, employers sometimes require extra tests, including blood and urine samples.

Q: What is my ideal healthy weight?

Your physician can inform you of your ideal weight based on your age, height, and other variables. Share your family health history with your physician, as this will help him to put together a regimen of tips to help you reach your ideal weight.

Q: Is my blood pressure normal? If not, how can I regulate it?

Many patients do not understand the numbers that comprise blood pressures. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to clarify your numbers and what they indicate regarding your health. Should your physician deem your blood pressure as too high, ask about foods you can eat and medications you can take to even it out. Also, take time to ask about your cholesterol.

Q: What female issues should women be concerned about?

Women typically ask many more questions during their physicals because their bodies require careful observation due to issues regarding pregnancy, regular periods, and so forth. For women, ask your doctor about whether you should use birth control, how often you should come in for breast cancer screenings, and other female issues.

About the Author: Dr. Cedric Fernando has served as the Medical Director at the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Occupational Health Department since 1987. As Medical Director, Dr. Cedric Fernando oversees occupational health services, such as performing physicals, treating patients who file workers’ compensation claims, conducting workplace drug tests, and more.

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