All posts filed under “Safety

Mosquito-borne viral disease in the U.S.
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Mosquito-borne viral disease in the U.S.

Most people are aware of the spread of the mosquito-borne viral disease, Zika, in many countries in South and Central America.  Worldwide, the most important disease transmitted by mosquitos is malaria.  Instead of being caused by a virus, however, malaria is caused by a parasite that infects the Anopheles mosquito. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 214 million cases of malaria occurred in 2015 with 438,000 deaths attributed to the disease.  The disease is passed on from a malaria-infected person to the next person via the mosquito bite.

The most common mosquito-borne viral disease globally is Dengue fever.  In 2015, nearly 2.4 million cases of this viral illness were reported by the WHO.  Both of these infections occur more commonly in tropical regions of the world. In the U.S., we are fortunate that local exposure to malaria has essentially been eliminated, and with the exception of a few cases affecting U.S. citizens living in topical settings such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, nearly all dengue cases reported in the U.S. are acquired elsewhere by travelers or immigrants.

As of July 13th of this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there have been no locally acquired cases of Zika virus disease in the U.S. There have been, however, 1,305 travel-associated cases of this disease reported by the CDC in the U.S. since January 1, 2015. Infection with the Zika virus is usually quite mild.  A serious concern, however, is the link between a Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman and the development of microcephaly in newborns, a congenital defect of cranium and brain size resulting in profound neurological defects.

The most prevalent mosquito-borne diseases that develop from mosquito bites occurring in the U.S. include West Nile virus disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.

West Nile Virus Disease (WNVD) is primarily spread by the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird.  Over 300 species of birds have been found to be infected with the West Nile virus including common songbirds, crows, blackbirds, blue jays, doves, and pigeons.  Once a bird becomes infected, a mosquito can then transfer the virus from the bird’s blood stream to humans, setting the stage for the infection.  In a very small number of cases, WNV also has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and even during pregnancy from mother to baby.  After reaching a peak at 9862 cases in 2003, the CDC reports that the number of cases appears to be decreasing.   Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. Less than 1% of those infected develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) Most persons infected with the eastern equine encephalitis virus have no apparent illness with an average of 8 people per year developing a severe form involving inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).  Most cases have occurred in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.  Symptoms of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with an approximately 33% mortality rate.

La Crosse encephalitis (LACV) causes inflammation of the brain (encephaltitis) in approximately 80 to 100 people in the U.S. each year. Most LACV infections, however, are much less severe.  Most cases of this disease have been reported from upper Midwestern, mid-Atlantic and southeastern states. Like the other illnesses being discussed, the risk for developing LACV is highest for people who live, work or recreate in woodland habitats, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.

St. Louis encephalitis virus infection primarily affects individuals living in eastern and central U.S. As with the other viral infections discussed, most people infected with this virus have no apparent illness. Severe neurological disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result. There is no specific treatment for SLEV infection; care is based on symptoms.

From the descriptions of these mosquito-borne viral illnesses affecting U.S. residents, several similarities become apparent:

  • Most people have no symptoms or are only mildly symptomatic.
  • When symptoms do occur they are often similar in nature with headache, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting predominating.
  • A very small percentage of those infected will develop a more severe form of the disease, usually resulting in a brain infection (encephalitis) which is sometimes fatal.
  • There is no specific treatment available for these infections.  Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy which may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections.
  • With the exception of a vaccine against the Japanese encephalitis virus (not typically given in the U.S.), immunizations are not available for these viral diseases.
  • Prevention measures for these illnesses center around avoiding mosquito bites
    • When outdoors, use an insect repellent that contains an EPA-approved active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
    • Since mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, along with using a repellent, consider wearing long sleeves and pants during these times.
    • Be sure that your window and door screens are intact.
    • Remove sources of standing water around the home that serve as mosquito breeding sites.

Sources for article:

West Nile Virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Eastern Equine Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saint Louis Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

La Crosse Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you have any questions about Mosquito-borne Viral Disease , leave a comment below or log into your myModa account and send eDoc your question. We are here to help.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

 

 

Disaster Kit
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The Great Oregon ShakeOut

When it comes to natural disasters, sometimes it feels like there is nothing you can do. So, why worry? Even though an earthquake cannot be prevented, shakeout.org has developed ways to help protect ourselves and loved ones during an earthquake. Shakeout explains that Oregon lies between two tectonic plates in a constant state of collision. The 600 mile long fault line known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone spans from California to British Columbia.  After years of pressure and slow movement the plates will rip apart causing massive earthquakes.

In order to protect ourselves during a large earthquake, shakeout.org has organized a worldwide earthquake drill. In 2015 over 43 million people participated in the shakeout.  This year on October 20th at 10:20 a.m. another worldwide drill is set to take place. At this time, over five million U.S. participants are signed up, and the numbers are growing daily! In Oregon alone, there are nearly 25,000 individuals registered for the drill. The top three participating areas are as follows,

1)      Washington County

2)      Marion County

3)      Multnomah County

How to Participate in The Great Oregon ShakeOut

Visit shakeout.org and enroll to participate with millions of others worldwide. Then, on October 20th at 10:20am follow the four recommended steps below.

1)      Drop, Cover and Hold on: Don’t waste time, Drop to the ground. Cover yourself; find shelter under a nearby desk or table. Hold on tight for one minute.

2)      Now, take a look around, imagine what would be happening around you in an actual emergency.

3)      (optional) Practice what your next steps would be following an earthquake.

4)      When you are finished, talk with coworkers, friends or family about what you learned, and your disaster plan.

Participation will be tracked through online enrollment. Individuals, as well as businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations can all take part in this amazing opportunity.

For more information regarding The Great Oregon ShakeOut and other useful disaster information click here.

 

  Feature photo by  Global X

bbq
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Grilling safety tips

Memorial Day is just around the corner and it’s time to get your grill ready for summer cooking on the patio.  According to the Insurance Information Institute an average of 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, causing an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 deaths

The National Fire Protection Association offers general grilling tips to keep your next BBQ safe:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

If you have a gas grill, be sure to check for leaks prior to use.  Watch this video showing a simple way to check for leaks.

By following a few simple safety rules for you BBQ you’ll enjoy many nights of safe grilling.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Jing

Sprinkler
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Fun in the sun

Windows down and music up, there is nothing like cruising around on a sunny day. Unfortunately, there is also nothing like the feeling of the summers first sunburn. As the sun starts to shine through don’t forget to take proper care of your skin. A sunburn is more than just a change in skin color. When viewed under a microscope, visible damage to the cells and blood vessels can be seen.  This is true whether the burn turns in to a tan or you peel.

Today, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Constant sun exposure without proper protection greatly increases your chances of developing skin cancer over time.

What benefits does the sun have?

Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s vitamin D production. This is important because vitamin D is not found naturally in most foods.  However, as food production methods have changed, vitamin D found in the foods you eat has increased. Many foods are now fortified with enough vitamin D to help you sustain proper levels. That being said, barbecuing with family, playing a sport or hiking in the sun, is still better for you than watching television inside. Don’t forget that you can still protect your skin while enjoying your time in the sun.

How to limit the harmful effects of sunlight

Of course, staying out of the sun is the best way to stay protected, but who doesn’t want to enjoy the sun when it makes an appearance? Try to take the following steps when exposed to sunlight to keep your skin healthy and looking its best:

  • Don’t leave the house without wearing sunscreen. Apply it every day and make sure it’s a habit, just like brushing your teeth!
  • Between the hours of 10am and 3pm be extra cautious; avoid the sun when you can, and apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming, getting wet or sweating. (Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 10am and 3pm).
  • Long sleeves and slacks help protect from the sun, especially when in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Don’t forget your shades! Wear sunglasses that can filter UV light.

Three little letters; SPF

Everyone has seen them, but what does it really mean? SPF stands for sun protection factor. The greater the SPF number, the greater protection one will get from UVB rays (the burning rays). Choose an SPF that is 30 or higher no matter your complexion. If you have had skin cancer or precancer, it is recommended to increase the SPF to 45 or higher.

Sunscreen is important for everyone, regardless of age, sex, complexion or profession. Protection from the sun and the damage harmful rays can do to your skin makes applying sunscreen very important; whether or not you burn. Remember to check the label in order to determine the proper amount to apply.

See the full article here

 

caption-arrow Feature photo by  echoroo

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Recognize the signs of breast cancer

With October coming to a close, we have one last post on the topic of breast cancer awareness. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help in early detection. Below are some common symptoms related to breast cancer.

  • A new lump in the breast
  • A new lump in the armpit
  • Swelling or thickening in part of the breast
  • Dimpling of the breast skin
  • Irritation of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge (other than milk)
  • Change in shape or size of the breast
  • Pain anywhere in the breast

If you are showing any of these symptoms it does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. These signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. It is important to be looked at by your doctor should you have any concerns.  On the other hand, some women have no symptoms at all. Even if you are not showing any signs of breast cancer it is important to get regular screenings.

Comment below how you plan to stay on top of your health. Also how will you share this information with others?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  North Charleston

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Does meat cause cancer? Here is what we know

Bacon, everyone’s favorite processed meat, but does it cause cancer?  Over the last few days chaos has ensued over the recent information that was published by The World Health Organization (WHO) regarding red meat and processed meat.  But what are the actual facts? Here is what we know…

What is considered red meat?

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Horse
  • Goat

What is a processed meat?

Processed meat is any meat that has been transformed to enhance flavor and preserve the meat by ways of salting, curing, fermentation, or smoking. Some example include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Sausages
  • Corned beef
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned meat
  • Meat based preparations and sauces

What is a carcinogen?

A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in living cells.

The WHO has classified red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

There have been studies that have shown there is a positive link between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer.  However this new classification of red meat was based on limited evidence, but none the less the evidence does show a correlation between red meat consumption and cancer.

Processed meat has been classified as carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

Studies have shown that there is a strong association between eating of processed meats and the development of colorectal cancer. This is due to multiple things, such as meat containing chemicals that form during the cooking process that are thought to be cancer causing.

Is eating bacon as bad as smoking?

No, bacon (processed meats) and tobacco are within the same category but that does not mean they are equally dangerous. When a substance is placed in a category it is looking at the amount of scientific evidence that proves it (in this case processed meat) causes cancer. It does not assess the level of risk.

Should I stop eating meat?

You do not have to cut out processed meats or red meats from your diet.There is evidence that proves eating meat is beneficial for humans.  As with most things moderation is the key component. However not only do processed meats have carcinogenic properties but they have been shown to increase risk for diabetes, and heart disease. Having a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with some indulgences every now and again is perfectly fine.  Let us know in the comments below what you think about the recently published information.

Source: WHO

 caption-arrow  Feature photo by jeffreyw

 

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Breast self-exam, do you know how?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it is intended to encourage women to take steps towards awareness, prevention, and early detection. Breast self-exams are vital to early detection, and should be done once a month 3-5 days after your period starts. Becoming familiar with your breast health may help you notice if changes occur. Below is information on how to complete a breast self-exam.

  • In the shower: Using your three middle fingers move in a circular motion from the outside of your breast in towards the nipple. Make sure to check the entire breast as well as the armpit, repeat on other breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes.
  • In front of a mirror:  With your arms at your side visually inspect your breasts. Most women’s breasts are not identical. Look for any dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note if your nipples turn inward. Next raise your arms overhead and look for any swelling or other visual changes. Lastly placing your hands on your hips, press firmly to flex your chest muscles, look for any visual changes such as those mentioned above.
  • Lying down: While lying down place a pillow under your left shoulder, and place your left arm beneath your head. Using the pads of your fingers on your right hand, make small circular motions inward along your left breast, start from the armpit and work in towards the nipple. Make sure to cover the entirety of the breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes. Next gently squeeze the nipple looking for any discharge, irritation, or redness. Repeat on other breast.

Early detection is crucial in fighting breast cancer. Breast self-exams help women notice changes in their breast that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. For women who have gone through menopause make sure to complete your breast self-exam on the same day each month. Most women have some lumps in their breast; the goal of breast self-exams is to notice anything new or different. If you do notice any changes make sure to contact your health care provider. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer.

Comment below on how you have, or plan to help spread awareness about breast cancer.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by North Charleston

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.
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10 facts you need to know about breast cancer

As you may know it is that time of year when we start to see football players, basketball players and athlete’s alike wearing pink during their games, and for good cause! October is known to many as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.

  1. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.
  3. Even though it is rare, breast cancer can occur in men.
  4. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  5. Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
  6. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk, no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  7. Complete a breast self-exam once a month.
  8. Stop smoking to support overall health.
  9. Make your mammogram appointment a priority.
  10. Early detection and treatment is key in fighting breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer. We’re rallying with the Portland Trail Blazers during Moda Health Months to spread the word.

Join us in keeping breast cancer top of mind. Follow us at #modahealthmonths on Facebook and Twitter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by williami5

packpack
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It’s backpack season again – how to hunt for the right one

As the first days of school draw near you’re no doubt hearing “I need a new backpack” from your kids.  Backpacks serve as fashionable storage for most students but parents may not know that there is the right kind of pack for right kind of kid.

To purchase a pack that is safe for your child consider the following from KidsHealth.org:

  1. A lightweight pack that doesn’t add a lot of weight to your child’s load
  2. Two wide, padded shoulder straps: straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders
  3. A padded back, which not only provides increased comfort, but also protects kids from being poked by sharp edges on objects (pencils, rules, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
  4. A waist belt, which helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
  5. Multiple compartments which can help distribute the weight more evenly.

The right pack for your kids help to alleviate back, shoulder and posture trouble in the future.  To start the year with a happy and healthy  back here is a great list of backpack strategies for parents and kids.  How about bringing a stack of books with you to test the weight, size, and fit?

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Jim Larrison

10 best sunscreens for kids
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How to protect your kids from sunburns the right way

We’re still in the midst of the summer sun.  By now the kids, and yourself, might have a slight “kissed from the sun” glow to your skin.  But it’s never too late to stay vigilant against the damaging UV rays that cause sunburn, premature aging or skin cancer.

With so many products on the market it may be hard to make an informed decision while the kids are waiting in the car (air conditioner running) and the cooler is packed with healthy snacks.  Everyone just wants to get to the river (lake or ocean).  You hear in your head “c’mon, let’s just go, I won’t burn, I promise.”  But you’re too smart for that.

Here is a list of the top 10 sunscreens to protect your kids.  Remember to read the directions and re-apply as often as instructed.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  AnnCN