Posts Tagged ‘water’

Surviving the Desert Summer

May 20th, 2013

Heat is the number one killer among all weather related causes of death across the country and in Arizona… more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires combined. It doesn’t get much attention because it’s hard to take a picture of heat- but it’s easy to take a picture of hurricanes and tropical storms.  The AZ heat is a lot more than a nuisance – it’s lethal. Our latest report shows that about 1,400 Arizonans get a heat related illness so serious each summer that they end up in a hospital emergency room – hundreds of them are admitted and dozens die every year. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Informed is the mantra – whenever you can, avoid the heat of the day. Go into an air conditioned place and cool off if you have to be outside. Drink lots of water – if you’re indoors all day, you should be drinking about 2 liters of water. When you’re outside, try to drink 1-2 liters every hour… and stay informed – a good place to do that is our extreme heat website

Our Extreme Weather and Public Health program focuses on heat related illnesses by enhancing surveillance and strengthening communication during Extreme Heat Advisory Days.  We’ve also developed innovative toolkits targeting identified vulnerable populations.  You can learn how to Protect yourself from heat with some resources on our website including our Heat Brochure and our School, Older Adult, and Outdoor Worker toolkits.  Also, here’s our Heat Emergency Response Plan.

Swim Safe AZ!

May 17th, 2013

National Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week is coming up next week.  Healthy swimming depends on paying attention to basic health, hygiene, sun-safety, and what swimmers bring into the pool (and what they don’t).  For starters, remind your kids to take a sunscreen, hydration, and bathroom break every hour when swimming.  You might also want to start the summer off right by getting your kids a UV protective swim shirt.  After all…  90% of lifetime sun exposure happens before you’re 20- so you can have a big influence on your kid’s lifetime risk for skin cancer.  And remember- there’s no substitute for adult supervision especially for rookie swimmers. 

Hygiene tips include not swimming when you (or your kids) have diarrhea, reminding your kids not to swallow pool water, and practicing good hygiene (shower before swimming and wash your hands after changing diapers).  And remember- little kids should have a swim diaper…  and always change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing areas (not poolside).  You can visit our Waterborne Disease site and a new CDC report about fecal contamination in pools to learn more. 

This year we’ll be holding a healthy swimming video contest to build awareness of safe swimming.  Kids can create a 2-minute healthy swimming video to help educate people about safe swimming including sun safety, staying hydrated while swimming, and preventing the spread of germs at pools, lakes, and water parks. The deadline for submission is June 16th and the website has the complete details and contest rules. The winning video will be used in a statewide water safety campaign. Last year’s winning video is up on YouTube.

2013 ADHS Water Drive

May 16th, 2013

We already broke the 100 degree mark in the Valley this week.  It won’t be long before the heat’s here to stay. 

Heat is one of the most dangerous weather situations in public health – actually it’s the #1 weather-related killer.  Last year 152 Arizonans died from heat exposure….  with 80% happening in June, July and August.  The largest age group for heat-related deaths are people over 55 (75% are men).  We also had about 2,500 emergency department visits and 548 hospital admissions from heat illness last year.  You can see why we work hard to educate people about the danger of heat and hold a water drive every year via social media.  

We’re also launching our annual water drive this month.  Last year, team ADHS brought in more than 60,000 bottles of water that went to outreach groups and shelters for those who need help escaping from the heat, like the elderly, those who can’t afford to cool their homes and the homeless.

Snack Time

February 12th, 2013

We’re one step closer to winning the battle of childhood obesity.  The USDA just released the new “Smart Snacks in School” proposal to provide national standards geared towards increasing healthy food options in vending machines and snack bars. As required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the USDA is striving to help improve the health and well-being of our children by creating nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools. 

The new proposed standards have been established using evidence-based research, existing standards currently implemented by schools, and healthy food and beverages already available in the marketplace.  The proposal identifies food allowances such as snacks with 200 calories or less, water, low-fat milk, plain or flavored fat-free milk, and 100% juice for middle and high schools.  The new proposed standards for healthier foods will impact all foods sold during the school day.  Kids will be able to purchase healthy meals, snacks, and beverages once the rules are final. The proposed rules will not apply to after-school hours, weekends, or off-campus fundraising events.

Think Before You Ink

August 31st, 2012

Many of you have probably seen the signs around town about the Tattoo Expo that is happening this weekend in Phoenix.  Tattoos have been growing in popularity over the past decade, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely safe. Recently there was a recall of tattoo ink because the ink was contaminated with an unusual (and stubborn)  bacteria called Mycobacteria. Some of these contaminated inks have caused serious infections, including lung disease and joint infections. Mycobacteria infections may look similar to allergic reactions, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your tattoos. If you suspect you have a tattoo-related infection you should contact your health care provider and report the problem to the tattoo artist. You can  also report the problem to the FDA’s MedWatch or 1.800.332.1088. 

Tattooing involves intentional cutting (injuring) the skin and introducing ink to create permanent markings. If the tattoo shop doesn’t practice good control measures then blood can be shared between people- potentially leading to infections like hepatitis C, HIV, and staph skin infections.  Even if they practice good hygiene, you can still end up with a secondary infection- because your skin (which protects your body from bacteria, viruses and fungi) has been injured.  I blogged about this previously in Tattoo You?  and said it’s up to you to decide if the risks are worth it. 

If you do decide to get a tattoo, it’s important to look at the practices of the staff in the shop. Be sure to look around and ask questions.  You’ll want to be sure the shop sterilizes equipment and that the ink, needles or other equipment are not shared between people. Tattoo artists can minimize the risk of infection by using inks that are specially made to ensure they are free from disease-causing bacteria, and avoiding the use of non-sterile water to dilute the inks or wash the skin. Non-sterile water includes tap, bottled, filtered, or distilled water.  Also, pay attention to the infection control advice they give you when you leave.  

You decide.

The Olympic Diet

August 2nd, 2012

Ok.. here’s a quiz. One of the lists below represents the most commonly ordered foods at the Olympic Village by the athletes in London. The other list is the list of most commonly purchased foods in the US by normal consumers (by dollar value). Can you match the list to the right cohort?

 

List AWater, vegetables, Low fat chocolate milk, nuts, peanut butter, oatmeal, eggs, cereal and orange juice

List BSoda, milk, bread, beer, salty snacks, cheese, frozen dinners, cereal, wine, liquor

 

Of course you know which list is which. But to watch the commercials on TV – you’d think that the athletes were living on soda pop, fast food cheeseburgers and fries. Just sayin’.

‘Tis the Season to Stay Hydrated…

June 18th, 2012

An excessive heat warning has been issued this week, with temps climbing up to 113!!!!

The AZ heat is a lot more than a nuisance – it’s lethal. Our latest report on heat shows that about 1,400 Arizonans get a heat related illness so serious they end up in a hospital emergency room – hundreds of them are admitted because they are so sick. And dozens die every year.

Fortunately there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Informed is the mantra – whenever you can, avoid the heat of the day. Go into an air conditioned place and cool off if you have to be outside. Drink lots of water – if you’re indoors all day, you should be drinking about 2 liters of water. When you’re outside, try to drink 1-2 liters. And stay informed – a good place to do that is our extreme heat website. You can also sign up for heat alerts from our program to warn you about dangerous heat.

The good news is that preventing heat related illness is easy to do if you just use common sense. You can learn how to Protect yourself from heat with some resources on our website including our  Heat Brochure [252k PDF] and our Heat Emergency Response Plan [135K PDF] .

Fl- – An Inexpensive Public Health Intervention

January 11th, 2012

When I was a kid growing up in Tucson- it seemed like we lived at the dentist- and getting cavities filled was routine.  It’s way better these days because of a host of public health and dental product interventions…  but 75% of Arizona kids still have tooth decay by the time they’re in 3rd grade.

Around 1900 scientists speculated that fluoride might protect against tooth decay based on observations that different communities had different trends in tooth decay.  They didn’t exactly know that it was fluoride, but noted that fewer cavities were present in communities where folks had mottled teeth (now called dental fluorosis) which we now know is caused by high levels of fluoride.  Researchers in the 30s and 40s found the direct relationship between fluoride concentrations and tooth decay, and determined that moderate levels of fluoride prevent cavities.  Water fluoridation as a public health intervention began shortly thereafter.

Water fluoridation today reduces cavities by up to 40% relative to communities with low levels of fluoride.  It costs about 95 ¢ per person per year, saves $38 in unnecessary dental costs per person per year… and fluoridating a person’s water for a lifetime costs less than filling 1 cavity!

Some fluoride is naturally present in water and food. Because of our reliance on groundwater for drinking water In Arizona, many communities have naturally occurring fluoride- so all Arizonans get some.  When you hear the word “fluoridation” it basically means that the community adds enough fluoride to the water to bring the natural level up to the amount needed to prevent tooth decay.  Currently, 10 Arizona communities (Bisbee, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Guadalupe, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Tempe, and Yuma) fluoridate their water supply to the right level.  Many other communities in Arizona have naturally occurring optimal levels of fluoride in their drinking water.  Arizonans can check the fluoride levels in their water systems on the My Water’s Fluoride website.  Folks can also learn more about community water fluoridation on the CDC’s fluoride website and on EPA’s fluoride website

We also recommend everybody brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste—when getting up in the morning and before going to bed.  For little kids, we recommend monitoring the amount of fluoride during tooth brushing by supervising and discouraging kids from swallowing toothpaste- and teaching them to only place a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush.

Yet Another Obesity Call to Action

August 19th, 2010

You probably think I sound like a broken record because I’m always writing about obesity…  but it really is the dominant public health issue of our time.  Last week, the CDC released its latest Vital Signs report called “State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults – United States, 2009,”…  which finds that nine states had an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher in 2009. In comparison, no state had an obesity rate of 30% or more 10 years ago.  The report also finds that people who are obese incurred $1,429 per person more in medical costs every year when compared to people of healthy weight, and that the nation’s total medical costs of obesity were $147 billion in 2008.  OK that’s the problem- so what’s the solution?

 

The solution is a combination of public policy changes and community planning, combined with better education and personal responsibility.  For example, people need to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods high in fat and sugar; drink more water instead of sugary drinks; be more physically active; and watch less TV.  As a society, we need to promote policies and programs at school, at work and in the community that make the healthy choice the easy choice.  You can read a lot more on the CDC’s Vital Signs Adult Obesity website.

Into the Inferno

May 19th, 2010

It’s not just the Phoenix Suns that are hot; your backyard will be one of the hottest places on the globe for the next 4 months.  The heat on the desert floor isn’t just a nuisance, it’s expensive & lethal.  Do you know what to do to protect yourself and your family?  Do you follow through?

Year in and year out, nearly 1,400 Arizonans get a heat related illnesses so serious that they end up in an emergency department and hundreds of them are so ill that they end up being admitted to the hospital.  In 2008, the average per-person hospital treatment cost for heat related illnesses in Arizona was about $7,500, leading to a whopping $11,000,000 dollars in treatment costs in 2008. And that’s not all.  On average, between 30 and 80 Arizona residents die from heat related illnesses every summer.  More than 70% of these hospitalizations and deaths are males.

The good news is that preventing heat related illness is easy to do if you just use common sense.  You can learn how to Protect yourself from heat with some resources on our website including our a Heat Brochure [252k PDF] and our Heat Emergency Response Plan [135K PDF] .