Adequate health literacy is essential to health care, public health, and the way our society views health. Improving the health literacy of the population has been broadly recognized as an important goal and is one of the major objectives in the Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health Information Technology topic. Health literacy is not just about reading — it requires a complex group of reading, listening, analytical, and decision-making skills, and the ability to apply these skills to health situations. For example, it includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor’s directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category
Fifteen years ago, measles was considered eliminated from the United States. However, in recent weeks the number of people infected with measles has gone up to 78 since an outbreak in California’s Disneyland. In 2014 alone there were 644 reported cases in the United States. Many of those infected were never vaccinated for various reasons. One of the primary reasons is parent’s fear or concerns regarding the measles vaccine. Many people may not realize the devastating effects measles can have and therefore do not fear the disease but tend to fear the vaccine due to hearing about possible side effects and reports of its link to Autism which more recent research has disputed
According to the Center for Disease Control, measles is a very contagious disease. It remains active in the air and on surfaces up to 2 hours. Generally, symptoms appear about 7-14 days after exposure and often with cough, runny nose, fever, and watery eyes. Two to three days after first symptoms begin, white spots appear inside the mouth. Following that, a rash begins, starting at the head and spreading down to the rest of the body, usually appearing about 3-5 days from the first signs of being sick. Serious complications from measles can include pneumonia and encephalitis, which can lead to long-term deafness or brain damage. There is no known cure for measles. (more…)
As we head toward the end of this year, the CDC offers a few tips for a smoke-free 2015.
Every January 1, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the nearly 7 out of 10 current U.S. smokers who want to quit, why not get started today? Smoking is still the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Quitting now can cut your risk for diseases caused by smoking and leave you feeling stronger and healthier. Most smokers who want to quit try several times before they succeed, but you can take steps that can improve your chances of quitting for good.
Use Free, Effective Resources: There are many free resources for people trying to quit smoking. Check out 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a call line and source of encouraging texts; Smokefree TXT, which sends texts of encouragement and advice to your phone; and Smokefree Apps, apps to help you become– and stay–smoke-free. A few information pages also provide tips and personal stories. Check out pages on Smoking (MedlinePlus), Quitting Smoking (CDC), and Tips From Former Smokers (CDC).
Find a Medication That’s Right for You: Many options are available if you are considering using medications to help you quit smoking. Studies show that smokers who use medicine to help control cravings, along with coaching from a quit line, in a group, or from a counselor, are much more likely to succeed than those who go it alone.
Even if you don’t smoke yourself, you can use this article to help a friend or family member become smoke-free in 2015!
During November, the nation collectively recognizes the achievements, contributions and rich culture of the Native Americans.
Native American Heritage Month was first recognized in 1915 with the annual meeting of the Congress of the American Indian Association, building upon previous work of Dr. Arthur C. Parker. Despite this proclamation, various states began organizing days of commemoration at different times of the year. It wasn’t until 1990 that a joint resolution from the White House was issued, designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Learn more about the history of Native American Heritage Month from the Library of Congress. (more…)
As the current Ebola outbreak continues to unfold, public health departments around the country are readying their staff and communities for a possible response. In the November session of Hot Topics, Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH, will speak about the Ebola preparedness efforts underway in Washington State.
In the one-hour presentation, Lindquist will discuss how the state health department is working with hospitals, clinical providers, and laboratory workers to ensure proper procedures for case identification, laboratory testing, and infection control. He will also provide a brief overview of the virus and its clinical symptoms, as well as the current outbreak status in West Africa and the United States. (more…)
|Credit: CDC photo by S. Smith. Member of an Emergency Citizens Group in Oklahoma City, radioing information to headquarters during the 1963 Polio Eradication Campaign. Public Health Image Library (http://phil.cdc.gov), #1624.|
This is a guest post written by Ann Glusker, MLIS, MPH, Reference and Consumer Health Librarian at The Seattle Public Library.
The library world is a small one, and when I heard that a friend of a friend had worked with Jonas Salk, and that she would be interested in speaking about him and his work to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, a program was born! What could be more timely than considering polio, which has yet to be eradicated, as we battle many other endemic diseases worldwide (and this was before the recent Ebola crisis)? My planning partner and I asked Salk’s colleague, Kathleen Murray, and also Dr. Linda Venczel, who has worked on polio eradication for much of her career, including with the CDC and the Gates Foundation, to speak. I’m happy to say that you can hear them present their program, “Polio Then and Now: From Salk’s Game-Changing Vaccine to Today’s Resurgence” this coming Tuesday, October 28, at 7 pm at the Seattle Public Library’s Central (downtown) location.
I have always been aware of polio, as my aunt had the disease (luckily with little lasting effect thanks to the innovations of Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny), but until I started reading more about it in advance of the program, I hadn’t really realized how terrifying it was. It’s been recognized for a long time, perhaps dating back to the early Egyptians, but the epidemics that caused widespread fear really began in the 20th century (ironically, it’s thought, due to enhanced sanitation—if children didn’t get exposed to polio-laden water in very early life, when they still had maternal antibodies, it was harder for them to fight off the virus). While most people with the virus are asymptomatic, the progress of the disease can be devastating to others, causing paralysis and even death. Worst of all, it disproportionately affects children. (more…)