Category Archives: center for disease control

“Don’t Fry Day” is May 25th

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The sun is out and the temperature is rising! People are escaping the indoors to enjoy some time outside such as in the backyard, at the baseball field, or at the lake. Will you be doing the any of these? Whatever activity it is that you participate in, how do you protect yourself from the sun? Friday, May 25th is “Don’t Fry Day” and brings awareness to protecting our bodies from skin cancer.

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common and most preventable cancer out there? Skin cancer is caused by being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Where do UV rays come from? The sun and tanning beds both expose our skin to these types of rays. It is important to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves from them. Read the following bullet points for some tips to decrease your risk of skin cancer!

  • Spend your time outside in the shade, especially between 10a and 2p when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses
  • Apply sunscreen at least every two hours and after you towel off or get out of the water
  • Avoid tanning beds!

UV rays from the sun can start causing damage to your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Even when it’s cloudy you still need to protect yourself. Keep an eye out for signs of skin cancer such as a new growth, sore that doesn’t heal, or change in a mole.  The CDC has also posted a list of traits that may increase the risk of skin cancer:

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • Family history of skin cancer.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • Exposure to the sun through work and play.
  • A history of sunburns, especially early in life.
  • A history of indoor tanning.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Blond or red hair.
  • Certain types and a large number of moles.

Even if you don’t have these traits, you can still get skin cancer. If you notice any changes in your skin, contact your doctor! Keep your body healthy and safe this summer by protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays!

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/skincancer/index.htm

http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/news/2012/05/25/dont-fry-day-a-message-from-the-national-council-on-skin-cancer-prevention/

Where will you travel to in 2018? Be safe while you are there!

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In 2017, about 79,767,026 United States citizens traveled internationally. Traveling has increased in popularity over the years and the industry grows every year. Traveling is exciting and fun, but it is important to stay safe and healthy while at your chosen destination. Whether you are traveling for work or adventure, take a look below for some safety and health tips while traveling abroad.

  • Travel Advisories: Are you traveling to a safe location? The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs issues travel advisories for each country. There are four levels based on safety and security risk. Where does your destination land?
    1. Exercise normal precautions
    2. Exercise increased caution
    3. Reconsider travel
    4. Do not travel
  • STEP: This acronym stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It gives travelers information and updates about their location. It also allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you in the case of an emergency.
  • Weather: What’s the weather like? Does it rain often? Is it tropical storm season? Bring appropriate clothing and have a plan in the case severe weather conditions occur.
  • Driving and Road Safety: Do you plan on driving yourself while at your destination? Make sure you know the laws and road conditions (and what roads to avoid) as well as driving norms (i.e. driving on the left side of the road rather than the right side). Carry spare tires and extra fuel. Make sure you have the proper driving permits and documentation. Some countries require international driving permits
  • Medications, Vaccines, and Hospital Availability: Will you be bringing medications with you? It is advised to carry a doctor’s note that describes your medical condition, leave your medications in their original container with a clear label. Check out your destination’s drug policies to see if your medications are allowed. Another tip to consider is to see what vaccinations are recommended for traveling in general or for your particular destination. You should also have a plan if you do happen to get ill or injured. Find a doctor or hospital to go to and see if your insurance covers you while abroad. It’s important to be prepared.
  • Food Safety: Avoid foodborne illnesses and other diseases by practicing good eating and drinking habits. Safe foods are typically thoroughly cooked and hot. Packaged foods are also typically safe to eat. Bottled and canned beverages are also safe to drink. However, make sure bottles have not been tampered with and wipe the mouth of the can clean before drinking. Raw food, tap water (and ice made from tap water), and fountain drinks can be risky. Also use precaution when eating from street vendors as they may have decreased hygiene standards.
  • Belonging Safety: We all may have heard stories about belonging getting stolen while traveling. To avoid having your own belongings taken, don’t keep everything in one place. When going out, only bring the necessities and do not carry them in your back pocket. If you are carrying a purse or bag, keep it toward the front of your body. If you happen to be in a situation where someone is trying to take something of yours, it may be best not to fight for it. Although this may be hard to do and not your first reaction, you should remember that your safety is more important.
  • Money: What kind of money is used (i.e. Euros, Pesos, British pound)? You may wish to pick up some currency at your U.S. bank to reduce the cost of exchanging dollars into local currency overseas. Research the use of credit cards if you plan to use one. Call your credit card company to let them know you are traveling or your card may be declined overseas.

While these tips do not cover all areas of travel health and safety, they are a good start! We hope that this information will provide a safer and healthier experience while traveling abroad.

 

https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2017-O-001/index.html

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/about-our-new-products.html

https://www.internationalinsurance.com/advice/12-tips-for-staying-safe-while-traveling.php

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety

http://weknowyourdreams.com/travel.html

Cord Blood Awareness 2017

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Cord blood is the blood from the umbilical cord and placenta when a baby is born. When the cord is cut, some blood stays in the cord and the placenta attached to it and the baby no longer needs it. However, research has shown that saving this blood could be very beneficial and lifesaving in the future! Cord blood has all elements of blood plus blood-forming stem cells.

There are many uses for cord blood. Instead of using bone marrow in transplants, cord blood can be used! Transplants are used to assist treating people with blood, immune system, genetic, and metabolic diseases. There are so many people that benefit from transplants. Cord blood can make the transplant process easier as it can often be difficult to find a matching donor. Another use for cord blood is the stem cells that are in it. Research has shown a possibility that stem cells could replace other tissues of the body. They could be used to treat various cancers, blood diseases, and many other conditions.

There is still a large amount of research that needs to be done to learn more about cord blood and its benefits. Dedicating July as Cord Blood Awareness Month is a way to promote what we do know about cord blood. Take the time to learn more about cord blood and you’ll be amazed with how much science is changing and creating possibilities for the future!

Sources:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/directorscorner/messages/national-cord-blood-awareness-month

http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/qa/

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/health-awareness/cord-blood-awareness-month.html

Donate Blood to Save Lives!

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Blood is vital to our lives, but sometimes we need to share a little bit of it with others! Blood Donor Day takes place on June 14th. It is a day to bring awareness for the need of blood. Every year, emergencies affect over 250 million people. This fact inspires this year’s slogan: “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give Often.” Donating blood is very helpful for emergencies. Blood transfusions are very common in healthcare and having enough blood in stock is important to ensure that the best care possible is provided to patients.

Some benefits of blood for the recipient include helping the patient live longer, improving quality of life, and supporting surgeries when blood loss could be significant. A single donation of blood can save up to three people!

To be eligible to donate blood and platelets, you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old in most states, and weigh at least 110 pounds. To be a Power Red donor (donating two units red blood cells and keeping your plasma and platelets), you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old, be at least 5’1″ for males or 5’5″ for females, and weigh at least 130 pounds for males and 150 pounds for females. Keep in mind that some of these requirements may vary by case. Before you donate, you will have a mini physical to record your temperature, blood pressure, and hemoglobin to make sure your blood is safe to use. If you have any health conditions that you know of, check with your blood donor site to see if you are still eligible.

Please consider to donate blood! So many people are in need, and so many people can be saved!

Sources:

https://www.askideas.com/42-world-blood-donors-day-2017/

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2017/event/en/

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/double-red-blood-cells-donation

Stay Safe Outdoors This Summer!

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Summer is the time to be outside and enjoy the weather, but don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun, bugs, and traffic! Taking the time to put on sunscreen, bug spray, and protective clothing may seem unnecessary and something that you don’t want to do, but read on to find out why you should!

It takes just fifteen minutes for the sun to damage your skin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the rays! Wear sunscreen, take breaks in the shade, and cover your skin with long sleeve shirts and pants. Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants may not be your forte, so you should at least keep a t-shirt or some sort of cover-up to provide some protection. Keep a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses on hand to protect your face, eyes, and ears. When using sunscreen, make sure you are covering all exposed areas of skin and don’t forget to reapply! Applying once for being outside for more than two hours just does not cut it. Why should you follow all of these protective recommendations? The reason is skin cancer! Overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. The rate of melanoma is increasing faster than other cancers and is the most deadly form of skin cancer. On average, it kills one person every hour. Statistics have also shown that just one sunburn increases your risk for skin cancer in the future. If using sun protection to prevent the possibility of getting cancer isn’t enough to convince you to protect yourself from the sun, then I am not sure what is!

The sun isn’t the only thing you need to protect yourself from. Watch out for the ticks and mosquitoes! There are no vaccines or medications to protect you from vector borne illnesses such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease. The CDC recommends using a bug spray with at least 20% DEET. While other bug sprays can repel mosquitoes, they may not repel ticks. If you are using sunscreen and bug spray at the same time, apply the sunscreen first and allow it to dry before spraying on repellent. Wearing the appropriate clothing is a great way to keep the bugs from biting. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, shoes, and a hat. If you are walking through tall grass or walking through wooded areas, tuck in your shirt and tuck your pants into your socks to keep bugs from crawling under your clothes. Always check yourself to make sure that there are no bugs crawling on you or trying to bite. After coming indoors, put clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks that may be hanging on. If you start feeling sick after being bit by a mosquito or tick, you may need to contact your doctor.

If exercising outdoors is your thing, then this is for you! Make sure you dress for the weather. Try to make sure your clothing is reflective so that drivers can see you. When crossing intersections, make sure you look for cars before crossing. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bug spray, too! If you use headphones, make sure you can still hear what is going on around you. You should also exercise in well-traveled areas and let people know where you are. Following these recommendations can increase your chances of being safe during your workout.

Take the steps to protect yourself from your surroundings. Risks are taken with everything we do, not just going outside so don’t let sunburns, bugs, and potential danger ruin your outdoor fun!

 

Sources:

http://www.sunsafetyalliance.org/bare_facts.html

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/05/9-tips-for-safe-outdoor-workouts/

http://www.ladysoda.com/the-heat-is-on/

Make Every Day World No Tobacco Day!

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Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World No Tobacco Day. The purpose is to spread awareness about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States. Around the world it is the cause of death for almost 7 million people. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD, and lung disease are just a few health conditions that can be a result of tobacco use. Read the following facts to get an idea of how serious tobacco use is.

  • In the United States, 480,000 deaths per year are caused by smoking. 41,000 of those deaths are victims of secondhand smoke.
  • In the world, 890,000 of the 7 million deaths per year caused my tobacco are victims of second hand smoke.
  • Smokers die about 10 years earlier than those who do not smoke.
  • At the current smoking rate for American’s younger than 18, one in thirteen are expected to die prematurely.

Preventing tobacco use in middle school and high school students is an important part of stopping tobacco use. They are more at risk for nicotine addiction and are more likely to smoke into adulthood. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, and electronic cigarettes are just a few of the tobacco products common in this generation.

What is happening to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco? Ideally, everyone who uses tobacco would quit, but that is a tedious process. One thing that has taken a step toward ending tobacco use is taxes. Higher taxes are used to discourage smokers from buying tobacco as many tobacco users are in low-income communities. Another tactic is the use of anti-smoking commercials. Have you ever seen those commercials where individuals with a stoma are interviewed? How about the ones where tobacco users have to pay for their tobacco products with some of their skin? There are many more, but the intent of these commercials is to encourage people to say no to tobacco. Laws are another tactic used to avoid smoking in public places. These laws are used to prevent harmful effects of secondhand smoking unto those who choose not to smoke.

Do you or someone you know use tobacco? Become educated about all of the health risks associated with tobacco whether you do or do not use it. There are places to go for help to quit smoking. Becoming educated about all of the benefits from quitting tobacco will amaze you. Our bodies start to heal almost immediately after quitting. Tobacco affects everyone and the best way to prevent those affects is to eliminate tobacco use all together. The benefits of quitting can begin to happen in as little as 20 minutes and continue throughout life. Encourage your friends and family to be tobacco free!

 

Sources:

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-no-tobacco-day.html

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

 

Immunizations can help protect your child: National Infant Immunization Week 2017

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Did you know that National Infant Immunization Week started in 1994 as a part of the World Health Organizations effort to increase awareness of the positive effects of vaccinations? Every year since, the World Health Organization WHO, holds this infant immunization week sometime every April. This year it is to take place April 22nd to the 29th.

The goal is almost exactly the name, infant immunization. The WHO strives to incorporate the positives of routine vaccinations into the early health and development of children. One of the flaws of having developed a means to help prevent these childhood diseases is that no one remembers how devastating they could be. In 1920, only 68% of children in the world made it to age 5. That was less than a hundred years ago. Last year that number was at roughly 99.5% in the United States.

There has been some argument that administering so many vaccines, usually 3 or 4 at the same time, overloads the child’s immune system. That has been proven to be false, as they have new immune system. Everyday their immune systems fight off millions of disease causing agents. These vaccines introduce the body to damaged or dead diseases that would otherwise cause harm if they interacted with the live strains.

One example of what mass vaccination has prevented is Polio. There has not been a case of polio that originated in the country since 1979. Every year it would cause several thousand deaths, in addition to paralyzing,blinding or causing damage to the nervous system for tens of thousands every year. Based on historical data, we need an absolute minimum of 86% of the population vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of polio.  You would think that it would be closer to 100% than the minimum, but in 2012 only 92% of the population vaccinated.

There are many examples that prove that vaccinations help prevent epidemics, so why take the risk of not vaccinating?

WHO

CDC

Healthy People 2020 Goals/Evidence-Based practices

https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity

http://vaccines.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=005964

Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael Osterholm

Join us this Thursday night (23rd) for a presentation featuring the internationally recognized figure Michael Osterholm. Osterholm was a co-author for the book Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs. During the presentation he will be talking about several threats and topics concerning the public such as:

  • the reality and emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • bio terrorism as a certainty
  • the increasing risk of a devastating influenza pandemic

After the event he will be having a book signing event. The presentation will be in Langseth Hall 104 at 7 pm on campus.

 

Protect yourself. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2017

Every year 40,000 people are formally diagnosed with HIV. Currently there is an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV. The number that should be getting diagnosed is actually much higher, as 13-20% of the 1.2 million are unaware that they are infected.

What most people don’t know about HIV is that there are three stages, AIDS being one of them.

  • Acute infection. About 2-4 weeks after being infected, the individual will suffer many flu symptoms in addition to severally swollen glands and a borderline headache/migraine. Many people describe this stage as the worst flu of their life. The individual can transmit the virus to others as soon as 2 weeks after being infected.
  • Latency. After this the virus goes into hiding. It will continue to multiple at low levels in your blood. There will be no visible symptoms, and this stage can last anywhere from a few months to decades. The individual can still transmit the virus to others at this stage.
  • AIDS. The individual’s immune system crashes. It allows them to be easily infected by another infection. The life expectancy once you get to this stage is under 3 years. The individual is still contagious until the very end.

There are medications that can be taken to slow the rate or chances of one’s latency from progressing to AIDS, like ART (Antiretroviral Therapy). Two other drugs have recently come onto the market. PrEP and PEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis) work as precautionary measures to decrease the likelihood of infection. PrEP can be taken daily for as long as you are at risk and PEP can be taken after an encounter where you believe you were exposed. They work to lower the likelihood of infection by as much as 97%.

There are several things that one can do to lower their chances of infection.

  • Where a male/female condom during every sexual encounter. This includes oral and anal as well as vaginal. HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids and vaginal fluids. A condom decreases the chances that one will come in contact with one of these mediums. Women are even more likely to be infected during vaginal sex then their male counterparts. The infected semen has a large surface area to come in contact with and can remain in the vagina for several days, increasing the risk.
  • Be treated for other STDs. More so then men, women increase their chances of HIV by having by having another STD. The other STD lowers any barriers the body may have making it easier for the virus to get in.
  • Avoid injectable drugs. By sharing needles or using needles of unknown history, you may be contaminating yourself with infected blood.
  • Avoid the misuse of alcohol and drugs. These cause impairments in your decision making abilities. Doing so may decrease the chance of using a condom or increase the chance of using a needle.
  • Be monogamous. If that is not an option, talk to your sexual partners about their history. If someone is unsure of their status, have them get tested. For now, under Obamacare you can get tested for free.
  • Take PrEP. It may be expensive, but this preemptive move may save you more than what you would spend if you did contract HIV.
  • Take PEP. If something happens and you think you might have been exposed, begin taking the necessary doses of PEP within 72 hours of the contact.

There are also several threats that only effect women. This awareness day works to bring attention to both the above facts and these. Women are more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse.People that have histories of abuse are more likely to not go in for testing. They are also less likely to receive treatment for HIV if they are already positive. The abuse itself might give frequent exposure to the virus.

Women are also able to transmit the virus to their children through breastfeeding. Mothers are warned to not breastfeed their babies and to find a local breast milk bank or to use a formula. If the mother does, the chances of the baby becoming infected decreases to less than 1%.

For more information visit www.womenshealth.gov.

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about-national-women-and-girls-hivaids-awareness-day

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-girl-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids

https://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-and-aids/hiv-prevention

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/hiv-in-your-body/stages-of-hiv/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-woman-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids

National Wear Red Day (3rd) and American Heart Month

We all know the symptoms of a heart attack, right? You clutch your left shoulder/arm and collapse. If you have a tendency for the dramatics, you’ll fall to your knees before you go all the way down, making eye contact and reaching for someone. Seems kind of sudden, out of the blue, right? What most people don’t know is that there are more symptoms that can start days or even weeks before the actual attack. Bet you didn’t know that symptoms are also different for men and women.

The four symptoms that are commonly reported for both sexes are pain, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat and fatigue. The rest of the symptoms can occur in both genders, but each is more likely to experience a certain set of aches and pains. Like for example, men are more likely to feel pain in the right side of their chest, experience indigestion and only feel a dull ache instead of a throbbing pain. On the other side of the spectrum, women are more likely to experience bouts of vomiting, feel a pressing on their chest, experience a sharp pain in the middle of their back or feel pain in their neck, throat or mouth.

Now what else do you think you know about heart attacks and heart disease? You probably know that they are in the top ten killers of Americans, but what is their actual spot? 8th? 5th? The number one killer of Americans is heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Number 4 is strokes, another heart disease. Cancer is the most thought of, but it is actually in 2nd. What is dangerous about not knowing this is, that unlike cancer, you have a short window to get to the hospital to minimize the damage done by a heart attack. It has been estimated that 80% of deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes were avoidable, but the victim didn’t go to the hospital because they didn’t know the symptoms that were killing them.

The signs of a stroke are pretty universal in both sexes. They can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T.

  1. Face. Try to make exaggerated face motions, super smiles and frowns. Does one side droop?
  2. Arms. Try to raise your arms above your head. Is one of your arms drifting downwards?
  3. Speech. Try to say a simple phrase like ,”The quick brown fox jumped over the log”. Is your speech slurred or impaired?
  4. Time. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call 9-1-1.

National Wear Red Day is the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association’s way of fighting back. On the first Friday of every February, they have their volunteers and anyone else that wants to wear red clothing. By having such a public presence, they are hoping to have people learn more about what affects their ticker. While this is targeted towards women with cardiovascular diseases, it is used as a fundraiser to drive research that will help everyone.

While the 3rd is just Wear Red Day, February is The American Heart Month. Visit the Wear Red page for more information about what you can do this month to help raise awareness.