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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

October Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

Friday, October 10th, 2014

NIH News in Health_Oct

The October issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:

Features:

Sweet Stuff:  How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health
Is sugar really bad for us? How about artificial or low-calorie sweeteners? Learn more about the sweet things most of us eat and drink every day.

Cold, Flu, or Allergy:  Know the Difference for Best Treatment
You’ve got sniffles, sneezing, and a sore throat. Is it a cold, flu, or allergies? Learn to tell them apart so you can choose the best treatment.

Health Capsules:

Genetic Clues to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

NIH Health Information at Your Fingertips

Featured Website: It’s a Noisy Planet

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!
Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.

 

Update on the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Ebola

Since publishing our previous blog post on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the South Central Region has seen the first official imported case of Ebola.

On September 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first imported case of Ebola in the United States. The patient, a man who traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas, “did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately five days after arriving in the United States”. After being given experimental treatments, the patient passed away on October 8, 2014. The CDC is currently monitoring the people that have come into contact with the patient, although the risk of infection is very low.

From the CDC:

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.

A person must be exhibiting symptoms in order for Ebola to spread. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days and the average time for symptoms to appear is 8-10 days. These symptoms often include fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhaging. Isolation precautions and proper sterilization are the primary methods of prevention.

As these developments impact our region, the NN/LM SCR is committed to connecting you with quality health information resources. To register for an upcoming webinar on Managing Health Information Resources regarding Ebola hosted by the National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), visit their page.

An additional webinar, entitled Fighting Ebola and Infectious Diseases with Information, also featuring presenters from DIMRC will take place on October 14, from 1pm-2pm CT.

Enterovirus D68

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Elbow Cough

Enterovius D68 is a rare form of non-polio enterovirus. Although enteroviruses are fairly common, EV-D68 has been rarely reported in the United States for the last 40 years.

A recent outbreak across the midwest, however, has drawn attention to this particular virus. Ten states, including Oklahoma, have sent samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing and positive identification–so far only cases in Missouri have been confirmed. All ten states have hospitalized children for respiratory illness-like symptoms.  Because EV-D68 is so uncommon, there is no specific vaccine or treatment. Those who develop mild to severe respiratory symptoms may need to be hospitalized.

EV-D68 spreads much like other respiratory illness–through secretions such as saliva or nasal mucus. To help prevent infection, follow these common public health steps:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

September is National Preparedness Month!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

National Preparedness Month Logo

Each September the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partners with other government organizations (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in an effort to encourage communities and individuals to be prepared for the worst in emergency situations. This endeavor has come to be known as National Preparedness Month.

The theme for 2014 is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare” and, in addition, each week focuses on different emergency preparation topics:

Week 1 – How to Reconnect with Family After Disaster

Week 2 – Know How to Plan for Specific Needs Before a Disaster

Week 3 – How to Build an Emergency Kit

Weeks 4 & 5 – How to Practice for an Emergency

As one part of FEMA’s NPM initiative, the National Preparedness Community website offers a multitude of resources for users and community members. Included on the website is a tool-kit with marketing information and a comprehensive list of NPM videos, PDFs, and webpages. In addition, users can use the National Preparedness Community website to find NPM events happening in their area or register for free with the community and access additional resources, such as discussion forums and region-specific activity. Use of the hashtag #NatlPrep is encouraged.

In addition to the National Preparedness Community website, the American Public Health Association (APHA) will be celebrating Get Ready Day on September 16th as part of NPM. The Get Ready website contains many fun and education resources for a variety of users and communities. These resources include factsheets, videos, podcasts, and other disaster preparedness-themed media for marketing use.

NLM activates the Emergency Access Initiative

Friday, August 15th, 2014

National Library of Medicine Logo

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) has been activated to support healthcare professionals working on the Ebola public health emergency in West Africa.

The EAI is a collaborative partnership between NLM and participating publishers to provide free access to full-text from over 650 biomedical journals and over 4,000 reference books and online databases to healthcare professionals and libraries affected by disasters. It serves as a temporary collection replacement and/or supplement for libraries affected by disasters that need to continue to serve medical staff and affiliated users. It is also intended for medical personnel responding to the specified disaster. EAI is not an open access collection. It is only intended for those affected by the disaster or assisting the affected population. If you know of a library or organization involved in healthcare efforts in response to the Ebola outbreak, please let them know of this service. EAI was activated four times in the past, including following the earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti, flooding in Pakistan and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The free access period is from August 12, 2014 – September 11, 2014

For more information on the Ebola virus visit MedlinePlus.

For updates on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Resources for National Breastfeeding Month

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Lact Med Mobile Logo

August is National Breastfeeding Month, first proclaimed by the United States Breastfeeding Committee in 2011. This blog post will highlight resources from the National Library of Medicine (and other authoritative sites) related to this topic.

LactMed: Drugs and Lactation Database is a National Library of Medicine (NLM) database containing information on drugs and other chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. LactMed offers users the ability to search for a generic, brand or chemical name, Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number, pharmacologic category, and/or subject terms, and retrieve information on the effects the agent has on breastfeeding. It includes information on the levels of such substances in breast milk and infant blood, and the possible adverse effects in the nursing infant. Suggested therapeutic alternatives to those drugs are provided, where appropriate. LactMed is updated monthly. In addition to access through the website, an App is available for both iPhone and Adroid devices.

Womenshealth.gov from the Office on Women’s Health currently has feature articles which address breastfeeding in the work environment, as well as a health topic page devoted to Breastfeeding. The topics page includes links to a fact sheet and other resources and information on: why breastfeeding is important, learning to breastfeed, breastfeeding challenges, pumping and storage of breast milk, and others.

MedlinePlus also has a Health Topics page devoted to Breastfeeding with links to materials in 14 languages other than English and Spanish. The page includes the usual types of information, including several videos, links to ClinicalTrials.gov and journal articles, and information just for dads!

In addition, two organizations provide national and local support for moms who breastfeed (or are considering breastfeeding) their babies: March of Dimes and La Leche League. Both organizations have local chapters and support groups which provide mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Monday, August 11th, 2014

National Immunization Awareness Month LogoAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month! This year, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) has designated a specific population focus for each week:

August 3-9 — A Healthy Start: Babies and Pregnant Women

August 10-16 — Back to School: Children, Preteens & Teens

August 17-23 — Off to the Future: Young Adults

August 24-30 — Not Just for Kids: Adults

Immunizations are important for individuals of all ages. Often times there are concerns as to whether or not we should continue immunizing our children (and ourselves), however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains vaccinations are worthwhile:

It’s true, some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming very rare in the U.S. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. But it is still reasonable to ask whether it’s really worthwhile to keep vaccinating.

It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, “Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.” But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.

Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

For more information on vaccines and immunizations, visit the CDC website. On this page you’ll find topics such as Basic & Common Questions, information on Vaccine Side Effects & Safety, recommendations for parents, and immunization schedules for all populations.

To participate in National Immunization Awareness Month, download the toolkit from NPHIC and join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #NIAM14.

August Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

August NIH News in HealthThe August issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:

Features:

Can You Recognize a Heart Attack or Stroke? What to Do When Every Moment Counts
How would you react to a medical emergency? When it comes to life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke, every minute counts.

Surviving Sepsis: Taming a Deadly Immune Response
Many people have never heard of sepsis, or they don’t know what it is. But sepsis is one of the top 10 causes of disease-related death in the U.S. The condition can arise suddenly, and it’s often hard to recognize.

Health Capsules:

Transplant Reverses Sickle Cell Disease

Mind and Body Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Featured Website: Diabetes Health Sense

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!
Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.

 

Ebola and the West Africa Outbreak

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Ebola

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often deadly virus found in humans and primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas. It is still unknown how the virus first appears in humans at the start of an outbreak, although scientists believe an individual is infected through contact with an infected animal.

In humans, the virus can be passed from person to person in a number of ways including direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected individual and exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been in contact with infected secretions

Because of the nature of transmission, Ebola can spread quickly within health care settings without adequate sterilization procedures and those working with infected individuals are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, as are friends and family. Symptoms of Ebola typically include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. These symptoms can occur anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure to the virus, however most begin around days 8-10. Some infected individuals may recover, while many do not (Ebola outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90%). There is currently no cure for Ebola, therefore treatment is limited to balancing the patient’s fluids, maintaining oxygen status, and treating complicating infections. Isolation precautions and proper sterilization are the primary methods of prevention.

As of August 1, 2014, “the World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths”. This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first of its kind in West Africa. Because of this, the CDC has issues a number of level 3 travel notices and has set up a screening process for those traveling to and from Africa. 

Currently, no individuals have contracted Ebola in the United States, however two American healthcare professionals working in Liberia have contracted the virus and been transported for treatment to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. In light of this, a number of precautions have been put into place and the CDC has determined that the spread of Ebola poses no significant risk in the United States.

For the most recent updates on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, visit the CDC’s West Africa Outbreak page. Information for the public, travelers, and healthcare workers is also available from the CDC.

July 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

NIH News in Health Fun in Sun

The July issue of NIH News in Health,
the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:

Features:

Sun and Skin: The Dark Side of Sun Exposure
Sunlight is essential to many living things, but it also has a dangerous side. The good news is you can take simple steps to protect your skin from sun damage.
Read more about sun and skin.

Fight Off Food Poisoning: Food Safety for Warmer Weather
It can be hard to keep foods safe to eat during warmer weather. Learn how to handle food properly to avoid the misery of food poisoning.
Read more about food poisoning.

Health Capsules:
Physical Activity Helps Seniors Stay Mobile
Kidney Failure and Its Treatment
Featured Website: Bionic Man

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!
Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.