Health Tips

  • Preserving the Power of Antibiotics for Humans and Animals

    During this year’s #GetSmartWeek, we’ve been reminded that the single most important action to slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is for every one of us to improve the way antibiotics are prescribed and used.

    Download the free infographic! Download the free infographic!

    On CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog today, Dr. Lonnie King discusses how antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine remain the cornerstone of treating and preventing serious bacterial infections. And how it will take commitment from all sectors, including the human health side and the animal health side, in order to preserve the power of antibiotics.

    Learn more about how  you can keep Get Smart About Antibiotics activities going, even after the awareness week.

  • Food Safety

    Estimated to cost more than $15.5 billion annually, foodborne diseases are a common and costly public health problem. Learn how CDC fights foodborne diseases to protect American consumers and businesses and helps employers make food safety a part of company culture.

    CDC FIGHTS FOODBORNE DISEASES, PROTECTS AMERICA’S BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS

    heart-health-mainFoodborne illness is a costly challenge for American businesses and consumers. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Medical and industry costs of these illnesses exceed $15.5 billion. CDC estimates that reducing foodborne infections by just 10 percent would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.

    Promoting a culture of food safety is vital to employees’ health—as well as to America’s businesses, communities and the U.S. economy. The Grocery Manufacturers’ Association reports that grocery-producing companies that have recalled a product in the past five years experienced an estimated financial impact of $10 million to $30 million per recall.

    Our food takes a complex route from farm to table, and the food production chain is becoming increasingly centralized and globalized. These challenges require identifying and implementing best practices to keep America’s food safe.

    In this issue of Business Pulse, explore how CDC protects America’s businesses, employees and their families by linking illnesses in people to specific foods, and informing food safety policies and practices to make food safer and save lives.

  • International Men's Day

    imd_logoToday is International Men's Day: the objectives of International Men's Day include a focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.

    The November IMD is a significant date as it interfaces the popular 'Movember' charity event and also with Universal Children's Day on Nov 20 with which IMD forms a 48 hour celebration of men and children respectively, and of the special relationships they share.

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  • Use Antibiotics Appropriately - #AntibioticResistance

    This is "Get Smart About Antibiotics Week"

    Antibiotics are used in First Aid first aid treatment regularly, but have other uses in medical care. World Antibiotic Awareness Week is sponsored by WHO, and Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is sponsored simultaneously by the CDC.

    Antibiotic WeekAs part of Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, today Dr. Martin Blaser discusses the importance of prescribing and using antibiotics appropriately to avoid unnecessary short-term side effects, like rashes and diarrhea, and long-term consequences, like antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics have done untold good, but a growing body of research shows an association between early-life exposures to antibiotics and chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity—so antibiotics should only be prescribed and used when necessary. Read more.

    Stop the global threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

    Click the image to download full size antibiotic resistance infographic! Click the image to download full size antibiotic resistance infographic!

    Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic – penicillin – in 1928, at a time when the world’s population was less than 1/3 of what it is today and commercial air travel was not yet commonplace. In our century, dangerous bacteria can quickly spread from person to person across the globe. When these bacteria become resistant to the drugs we use against them, common infections can turn into deadly threats.

    And don’t forget:

    Learn more about Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

    5 Things to Know

    1) Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are increasing all over the world, including the United States.

    2) The full impact of antibiotic resistance is unknown: there is currently no system in place to track antibiotic resistance globally.

    3) The global use of antibiotics by humans increased by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2010.

    4) About 80 percent of antibiotic use takes place in the community. Unchecked use in outpatient and non-prescription settings is a major issue.

    5) The good news is that patients, providers, and policymakers can all take action to stop antibiotic resistance.

  • Do You Know the Signs of Hypothermia?

    We've discussed Hypothermia, including Recognizing Hypothermia as well as Cold Stress & Frostbite in the past.

    Winter-TreesNow with Winter fast approaching and temperatures plummeting, FEMA reminds us we need to learn the signs of hypothermia

    With Winter just around the corner, it is time to think about cold weather safety; specifically hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia is particularly dangerous because a person may not know it’s happening. Some signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, and slurred speech.

    The CDC offers tips for helping someone who may be experiencing hypothermia, including:
    • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter;
    • If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it;
    • Warm the center of the body first using an electric blanket, if available; and
    • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

    Winter

    Also read:

    Working in a Winter Wonderland

  • Health IQ: Free App!

    Challenge Your Health IQDo you know the minimum SPF needed to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays? Or how many seconds you should wash your hands to kill germs? Test your health IQ to see how your health skills stack up. Choose from three levels of difficulty or be surprised by selecting a Random mix. Each quiz delivers a mix of 10 questions. Correctly answer as many of the 10 questions as quickly as possible with the hopes of earning bonuses like A+ Student, Public Health Nerd, and Einstein or score poorly and earn the Hot Mess achievement! New questions will be added frequently. Play again and again and try to beat your highest score!

    More Apps:

  • Texas Turkeys with Ebola: Not.

    turkey cupcakes R.0Just a Heads Up to our readers... Ebola is serous business, and with Thanksgiving approaching it is likely this will be circulating anew this year, so beware... it is supposed to be funny - tasteless perhaps, but not a true warning - note from the CDC:

    A Note About Ebola

    On November 10, 2014, a fictitious, comedic article was published online claiming that turkeys on a farm in Texas were infected with Ebola. This is a false claim. Furthermore, experimental efforts to infect birds with Ebola virus have not been successful, and birds have never been implicated in the transmission of Ebola. Only a few species of mammals, including humans, bats, monkeys, and apes, have been shown to be capable of becoming infected with and transmitting Ebola.

    There is no danger of getting Ebola from handling or eating any food produced in the United States. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola or someone who has died from Ebola. In some African countries, human Ebola infections have been associated with hunting, butchering, and handling bushmeat from animals infected with the Ebola virus. "Bushmeat" refers to meat that comes from wild animals, such as bats and monkeys, captured in developing regions of the world such as Africa. It is illegal to bring bushmeat into the U.S. Because of this, bushmeat, in any amount, found at U.S. ports of entry is destroyed along with any personal items that may have come in contact with it.

    For some real Thanksgiving food safety ideas, see...

    Real information about Ebola:

  • Halloween is not the only creepy thing

    CDC releases combined summary of notifiable infectious, noninfectious diseases...

    The Summary (Infectious) summarizes data on dozens of nationally notifiable diseases and conditions in the United States.  Highlights include:

    • West Nile virus (WNV) In 2013, 47 states and the District of Columbia reported 2,469 cases of WNV disease – including 1,267 cases of WNV meningitis, encephalitis, and acute flaccid paralysis. There were 119 deaths. WNV disease incidence was similar to that during 2004-2007 but was higher than during 2008-2011.
    • Chlamydia — In 2013, about 1.4 million cases of this sexually transmitted disease were reported – decrease of 1.5 percent from 4.46.6 to 453.3 cases per 100,000 population. This is the first time since national chlamydia reporting began that the overall rate declined – largely due to decreases among women. It is not clear whether the decrease is due to fewer chlamydia infections or to a drop in chlamydia screening.
    • Pandemic & Germ Preparedness

      Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) —This fungal infection caused by inhalation of spores present in the dry soil of the southwestern U.S. and California was recently detected in Washington State, far outside its usual range. The 9,438 reported cases in 2013 are a 47 percent decrease from 2012. Cases decreased by 55 percent in Arizona, which reports the most cases of any state, and by 27 percent in California. Despite the decrease, valley fever remains a major source of illness in affected areas.

    • Cyclosporiasis — This intestinal illness is caused by a microscopic parasite lurking in contaminated food and water. In 2013, the largest number of outbreak-associated cases of cyclosporiasis – 784 -- was reported to CDC since 1997. At least two outbreaks were linked to fresh produce imported from Mexico (bagged salad mix and cilantro). But the vehicle of infection for more than two thirds of reported cases could not be determined. CDC is working to develop advanced molecular detection methods to link cases to specific sources of infection.
    • Dengue — Spread by mosquitoes, dengue is a potentially serious viral infection. In 2013, dengue outbreaks occurred in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Epidemics in the Caribbean and in Central and South America resulted in 794 travel-associated cases – more than in previous years.
    • Gonorrhea — U.S. cases of this sexually transmitted bacterial infection increased 8.8 percent from 2009 to 2012, but decreased slightly (by 0.6 percent) in 2013 to 106.1 cases per 100,000 population. Nationwide, the gonorrhea rate increased 4.3 percent among men and decreased 5.1 percent among women. Treatment for gonorrhea is complicated by the bacteria’s growing resistance to antibiotics.
    • Influenza-associated pediatric deaths — From Dec. 30, 2012, to Dec. 28, 2013, CDC received reports of 161 deaths among people under the age 18 years – a more than three-fold increase compared with 2012, and a two-fold decrease compared with the pandemic year 2009. There were 69 pediatric deaths from seasonal influenza per calendar year during 2005-2012 and 358 pediatric deaths reported during the 2009-2010 flu pandemic.
    • Measles — There were 10 measles outbreaks in 2013, accounting for three-fourths of reported cases. The three largest outbreaks accounted for more than half of cases. In each outbreak, measles spread after a U.S. resident who caught measles abroad introduced the extremely contagious viral infection into communities with pockets of people unvaccinated because of philosophical or religious beliefs.
    • Meningococcal Disease In 2013, U.S. rates of meningococcal disease continued to be at historic lows. However, there were serogroup B outbreaks at two universities – one in California and one in New Jersey – resulting in 13 cases and one death.
    • Novel flu viruses   In 2013, there were 21 cases of human infection with variant flu viruses in the U.S. – all associated with direct or indirect contact with swine. There were no human-to-human transmissions. Any public health laboratory that receives a suspicious specimen of flu virus – one that cannot be subtyped using standard methods -- immediately submits that specimen to CDC for further testing.
    • Whooping cough (pertussis) Reported pertussis cases decreased from 2012 to 2013. However, cases continue to exceed those reported during the 1990s and early 2000s.
    • Salmonellosis   Salmonella causes an estimated 1.2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. The largest multistate outbreak in 2013 was traced to contaminated chicken. Other notable outbreaks were linked to live poultry, tahini sesame paste, cucumbers, and small pet turtles.
    • Hepatitis C (HCV)  After receiving reports of about 800 to 1,000 cases of acute HCV infection per year from 2006-2010, there was an increase of 73.9 percent to 2,138 cases in 2013. Investigations show a marked increase in the number of acute cases of HCV among young, nonminority people who inject drugs, many of whom also abuse oral prescription opioid drugs.
  • Fall is Ripe for Safety

    We thought it was about time to offer up some fall & autumn safety tips;

    Things to consider... Get a flu shot. Flu vaccination doesn't guarantee you won't come down with influenza, it does help lessen the chances of personal illness, as well as this Flu Season building into another pandemic. Learn more: Cough? Cold? Flu? Infection? Pandemic?

    Handwashing - Wash your hands. One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to wash them regularly and thoroughly. Use hot water, plenty of soap, and wash for at least 30 seconds. Last Thursday was Global Handwashing Day.

    Avoid going to work when sick - this only leads to spreading it to your workmates. Your boss and coworkers will thank you because group productivity won’t be at risk. It’s easier to deal with one person away from the office than several, all because you coughed on them. Read about Cough, Cold, Runny Nose

    Bundle up.When you’re outside and it’s chilly, wear a jacket. It sounds pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how many people think they’re “tough guys” walking around in a t-shirt when it’s 40 degrees out. Warmers make a huge difference, too - whether out in the rain or watching a football game from the stands - keeping warm and dry is essential.

    Raking leaves? Prevent back injuries by standing upright while raking and pull from your arms and legs. Don’t overfill leaf bags, and when picking them up, bend at the knee and use your legs, not your back, for support.

    If you use a leaf blower, shield yourself. Wear appropriate clothing, eye protection, and work boots to prevent injury.

    Do not allow children to play in leaf piles near the curb. The piles can obstruct the view of drivers and put your child at risk for getting hit, especially since it gets dark outside earlier. Also, there are nasty biting things in those piles, so remember to use insect repellent, even when it is cold out.

    Autumn Safety at Home

    Every month should be fire prevention month, but we tend to plug in a lot more devices in the fall and winter. It’s important to test all smoke alarms and have a family fire drill. Remember to replace used and expired fire extinguishers as well.

    Turn your heater on before the temperatures really plummet so you can ensure it works. Contact a technician to inspect that it’s operating properly if you suspect it needs servicing.

    Keep all flammable materials away from your furnace. This includes, clothing, paint products, toxic materials, cardboard and more.

    If you use a portable or space heater, keep it away from clothing, bedding, drapery and furniture. Remember to shut them off if you leave the house and don’t leave them unattended if you have children or pets.

    Do not use your space heater as a dryer for hats, gloves and other articles of clothing.
    If you have a fireplace, inspect the chimney to confirm it is free of debris, creosote buildup, and is unobstructed so combustibles can vent. Make sure the bricks, mortar and liner are in good condition.

    Do not warm your kitchen with a gas range or an open oven door, as this can lead to toxic air that is not safe to breathe.

    Keep matches, lighters and candles out of the reach of children and pets.

    When burning a candle, don’t leave them unattended, burning near other flammable items or on an unsteady surface.

    Doing laundry? Avoid fires by cleaning filters after each load of wash and removing lint that collects in dryer vents.

    Do a quick check for areas that may need repair before extreme weather hits: unsteady roof shingles, warped windowsills and concrete that might be sloping toward the house.
    Check all outdoor lighting fixtures to make sure they are working properly. This can safeguard you against falls and neighborhood crime. Clean your gutters by removing all debris and leaves. Before burning leaves, check your city’s regulations, as it may be illegal where you live. If you burn them, do so away from the house and use proper containers.

    Fall Car Safety

    With fewer hours of daylight, it can be difficult to see pedestrians or cyclists clearly, so if you don’t have automatic headlights, make sure they are on at the onset of dusk.

    DuskIn the mornings, the sun can be extremely bright, making it difficult to see brake lights ahead. Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to reduce glare and protect your vision.

    Temperatures can also affect driving performance. Clear your windshield of frost before beginning your journey and turn on your defogger if necessary. Frost can also form on the road surface without being visible, so be cautious in wooded areas, bridges and overpasses, where ice can quickly develop. Remember, leaves + rain can also make for a very slippery surface!

    Keep an emergency kit in your trunk. Be sure yours includes a flashlight, first-aid kit, jumper cables, windshield washer fluid and basic tools. You might even consider purchasing a car battery charger if you have a long commute each day.

    In Michigan there is a saying – “Don’t veer for deer.” Meaning, don’t swerve! You could lose control of the car quickly, especially if you are on a curve or narrow road with little to no shoulder. Instead, brake firmly with both hands on the wheel to come to a controlled stop.

    Pet Safety in the colder Months

    If your pets spend a lot of time outdoors or live outside, make sure that they are fed more often during cooler weather to help them retain body heat. If you live in a more rural area, and own farm animals like horses, have a place where non-frozen water is accessible to them. Also read: Pet Safety & Holiday Happiness

    While many mushrooms are non-toxic, some are poisonous for dogs and it’s difficult to tell the difference. To avoid mushroom poisoning, walk them in areas that do not have fungi growing, and if you see your pet ingest one, call your local animal poison control center or ASPCA immediately. CDC’s Winter Weather Health & Safety Updates…Pet Safety

    It’s apple-picking season! Thinking of bringing your pets to the cider mill? Watch that they don’t eat apple stems, leaves or seeds, as they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory problems, coma and possibly death, if too much is consumed.

    Since pests tend to seek shelter from the cold indoors, you may decide to use some type of pest control chemical to keep them at bay. If you use them, particularly ones to kill rodents (rodenticides), keep them away from your pets, as even a small dose can be fatal, especially for dogs, if not treated immediately.

    Make the fall season a happy and safe one by being prepared, having a high level of awareness and knowing the right resources to contact if you’re in doubt of what to do.

    We hope you enjoyed these tips, they were based upon an excellent post "Autumn Safety Tips: Protect What Matters this Fall" by Victoria Araj who writes for Quicken Loans

  • Halloween is coming!

    Halloween, fin for kids and adults, but remember safety.

    We've spent a lot of time gathering and presenting Halloween Safety Tips over the years... these things don't change much, but you really should refresh your memory  whether you have kids or not, whether you are venturing out for Halloween festivities or not - there's something here for everyone:

    halloween-glowstick

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