Category Archives: prevention

“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/

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Poison Prevention Week 2018

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2016 statistics show that there is an average of 1 poison exposure reported to U.S. poison control centers every 14.6 seconds. Fortunately, not all reported incidents resulted in an actual poisoning. Do you know how to avoid a poisoning incident or what to do in the case a possible poisoning does occur? The Health Resources and Services Administration has dedicated March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week to bring awareness. Read on to learn more about poison prevention and care.

  • A good start to preparing for or handling a poison incident is to have the Poison Help line written in a convenient location. That number is 1-800-222-1222. Keep the number in your phone and have a magnet on your fridge.
  • Poison proof your home. Keep medications in properly labeled containers and stored appropriately. Have properly functioning carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and furnaces. Keep cleaning supplies in proper containers and out of reach of children. Keep an eye on children when they are using craft supplies that may be made with chemicals and wash all surfaces after contact with the supplies. Use proper food preparation and storage techniques such as washing hands before handling food and storing foods at proper temperatures. Know what animals, insects, and plants are in your area that may be poisonous such as snakes and mushrooms.
  • What do you do if you suspect a possible poisoning? Do your best to stay calm and call the Poison Help line. Doing so may save you a trip to the Emergency Room. However, if the person is not breathing you must call 911. When you call the help line, an expert will be able to help you by giving first aid advice. If the poison was inhaled, get fresh air immediately. If the poison came in contact with the body, take off clothing that has been touched by the poison and rinse the skin with running water for 15-20 minutes. If the poison in in the eyes, rinse the eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes.

Being aware of possible poisoning incidents will help you be better prepared when a real incident occurs. Know what materials and organisms may be putting you at risk. Finally, if an incident does occur, do not wait for signs of a poisoning to call for help.

 

https://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/what-can-you-do/raise-awareness-about-the-poison-help-line/index.html

https://www.poison.org/poison-statistics-national

https://www.motivators.com/blog/2015/02/raising-awareness-national-poison-prevention-week/

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

Safely Watch the Great American Eclipse August 21st!

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Classes begin on August 21st for MSUM students. What better way to add some excitement to this day than to see the first extreme solar eclipse in Fargo-Moorhead in over thirty years? As exciting as this event may be, we all must take precautions to keep our eyes safe. It is very tempting to look directly at the eclipse. However, the eclipse can cause permanent eye damage if you look directly at it, even if it is just for a second. It’s important to wear special glasses made specifically for viewing an eclipse. Please do not use any other types of sunglasses! If you are purchasing your own pair of eclipse glasses, make sure they are certified.

The MSUM Planetarium will be having glasses available at their viewing on campus. Join them on August 21st from 11:30a until 2p in the G3 parking lot (corner of 6th Ave S. and 11th St. S). They will have the glasses as well as special telescopes for all to use and view the eclipse safely! If you are unable to attend in person, check out the live stream of the eclipse on their Facebook page Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The F-M area will be able to experience a partial eclipse. About 80 percent of the sun will be blocked from view. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity! And don’t forget to be safe!

Practice Fireworks Safety – 2017

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It’s finally fireworks season! There is a lot of fun packed into fireworks as there is a huge variety! Loud, quiet, big, small, what is your preference? These exploding pieces of entertainment are so fun, but don’t let them end up putting a damper on your Fourth of July celebration! Incorporate the following safety tips to ensure a night full of fun and prevent potentially serious accidents.

  • Know the laws of your city in regards to fireworks and follow them!
  • Read instructions and warning labels before lighting. Know what the firework will do so you know what to expect to ensure the safety of others in the area.
  • Responsible adults should supervise the use of fireworks. Fireworks should not be lit by someone under the influence of alcohol.
  • Wearing safety glasses can protect your eyes from debris and sparks.
  • Light one firework at a time and back away quickly.
  • Do not relight “duds.” Instead, wait 20 minutes then put it in a bucket of water.
  • Have a bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not put fireworks in pockets or shoot them into glass or metal containers.
  • Avoid the use of homemade fireworks.
  • If you have pets, make sure they had IDs and keep them in a safe place.
  • If it is windy, make sure the wind won’t blow the fireworks into the crowd or wait to light the fireworks until the wind dies down.

Follow these rules and use common sense when around fireworks. It may seem ridiculous to have so many rules, but they are there to protect everyone! Have a fun and safe fireworks season!

 

Sources:

http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/

https://www.fireworks.com/fireworks-university/fireworks-safety-tips/

https://www.firefighter-pgh.com/author/i-g-o-t-a/

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/