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!
Cyber Bulling statistics show that over half of teens have been bullied online and have engaged in cyber bulling. They also show that more than 1 in 3 teens have experienced cyber threats online. Come join Professor Dave Eisenmann on March 31st for a presentation for parents and students about keeping technology and social media positive and healthy for students of all ages. This is a FREE event and is open to the community. Eisenmann will be giving the presentation from 7PM-8:30PM at the First Lutheran Church in Fargo. This presentation will cover topics about cyber bullying and harassment, sexting, and the dangers of pornography. Why students should be careful about information that they share online through Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter and how this a permanent digital record will also be covered in the presentation by Eisenmann. Attend this event to help students all ages understand how to keep their technology and social media positive and healthy.
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.
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?
Exercise normal precautions
Exercise increased caution
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.
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!
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!
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!
Summer is finally here! Now you can spend your time at the lake, going camping, attending baseball games, and going swimming! These outdoor activities are exciting and fun. It would be unfortunate if the high heat had to ruin it! Heat illnesses cause more deaths per year than the combination of hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods! Death can be the result of very severe cases of heat illness, but many people are victims of heat illness and are able to recover if proper action is taken. There are several factors that affect the risk of getting heat illness:
Climate – those who live in hot and humid environments have a higher risk
Exercise and Activity – these can make it even harder for the body to cool off
Age – the elderly and young children are more at risk
Pre-existing illness and conditions – these may affect how the body responds to heat
Drugs and Medications – Some may make a person more susceptible to dehydration
Here is a list of heat illnesses:
Heat Cramps: these are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that are a result of strenuous activity in high heat. Loss of fluids and electrolytes are the underlying cause
To treat heat cramps, rest then massage and stretch the cramped muscles. Also make sure to drink fluids.
Heat Exhaustion: this illness occurs when lost fluid is not replaced. Signs and symptoms include weakness, dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, heavy sweating, nausea, fainting, and more. Heat cramps can also occur.
The first thing you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion is to remove yourself from the heat. You will then want to cool your body down by removing excess clothing, spraying body with cool water or applying cool, wet cloths to skin, and rehydrating with an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or just drinking milk.
Heat Stroke: this is the most serious heat illness. The body is not able to cool itself down. The main signs and symptoms include a body temperature above 104 degrees, flushed skin, decreased level of consciousness, altered mental status, convulsions/seizures, and unconsciousness.
To treat a heat stroke, the most important thing to do is to seek medical help immediately. Next you will want to try to cool the body using ice water soaked towels until medical help arrives. Bringing down the body temperature helps to reduce the chance and severity of brain damage, organ failure, and death.
It is so important to understand and know how to take care of heat illnesses. Although staying out of the heat is encouraged, at least try to limit your time exposed to the heat and take frequent breaks in the shade. Limit your time outside between 11am and 6pm which is when the heat is highest. It is also important to stay hydrated. Remember to wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Don’t let the heat put a damper on your summer fun!
This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.
You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.
Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.
In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically. They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.
Take a deep breath, now let it out. The air you just breathed in was probably refreshing at best, tolerable at worst. You might have noticed the onion or tuna you ate, but that was the worst of it. The next time you drink water, look at it. Is it clear? Probably. Is it colorless? Again, most likely. Is there water in your cup? Well duh.
Never before have these two things been at risk before, drinking and breathing, in the human existence time frame. With the help of globalization and a population boom, humans are having a profound effect on the world. We haven’t had to come to terms that it won’t last forever, because we’ve never had to worry about that in the past.
For the first time in human existence, carbon levels have risen above a threshold it has never crossed before. It didn’t just stop there; the current levels of carbon are sitting at 133% of that threshold. This rise in carbon is having an increased effect, often called the Greenhouse Effect. Due to this warming, there are many changes that are taking place in the world.
Professor Wallace recently gave a seminar on climate change here on campus and the effects that it has on human health. In her presentation she introduced us to some interesting points. A warmer world, even by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius shifts the mosquito habitat. More people will be exposed to mosquito borne disease and for longer times; Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and the list goes on. Currently 3.6 billion are at risk for these diseases. With a temperature increase that number could rise up to 5 billion. Allergies will worsen as their window widens also. Flooding will increase, as will hurricanes and tornadoes.
Some cities have to issue warnings over smog exposure. It is estimated that of the 10 million deaths every year in China, 1 million is caused by pollutants. Exposure to all these new chemicals is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. In addition to this smog exposure, there is an increasing amount of people with other respiratory problems such as asthma. In 2001, 1 in 14 people had asthma. In 2009, 1 in 12 people. That is the most recent number, although the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 10 people have asthma today.
The goal of Earth Day is to bring awareness to all these issues. It is trying to create scientifically literate people who will in turn be scientifically literate voters on environmental policies. They aim to change the direction of the world towards more green energy, jobs and technology. They hope that by 2020 a majority of the population will be able to understand the scientific literature that affects their lives and environments.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, and attendance was well above what anyone was expecting. 20 million people, roughly 10% of the population, joined the rallies and marches. It has been one of the most effective awareness days because it is bipartisan for the most part. After that first celebration, the government felt pressured into creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Act were also created.
Here are some more facts about Earth Day and our environment.
There is roughly 155 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean and roughly 9 billion is added every year
We will only be able to fill 60% of the world’s water needs by 2030 without better management
The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 banned many chemicals that were ripping a hole in the ozone. Thanks to that act, the ozone is now healing and the hole is closing.
A convention was held in 1997, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here many countries around the world pledged that they would work to sustain a diverse biosphere starting in their own countries.
The Renewable Portfolio Standard is an aggressive self- proposed bill in California that says that the state has to get half their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many states followed, but theirs is the most ambitious.
In 2012 the Earth Day Network planted 1 billion trees to try and bring back forested areas.