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Updated: 44 min 45 sec ago

No Fruit Juice for Babies

Wed, 2017-05-24 23:49

Untitled by Erwan Hesry is licensed under CC0.

orange tree

For the first time in 16 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its stance on fruit juice and recommends that no children under the age of 1 drink it. In fact, it’s fine if parents their children to forgo fruit juice altogether at any age.

The new recommendation opposes the AAP’s previous stance that it was ok for children 6 months and older to drink fruit juice. According to Dr. Steven Abrams, one of the authors of the report, there is no health benefit to drinking fruit juice. Once old enough, parents should give their kids mashed or pureed whole fruit opposed to fruit juice.

While it’s ok for older children to have limited amounts of fruit juice, the AAP is worried that all too often fruit juice replaces the whole fruits that children should be eating. These whole fruits provide kids with fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is often not fruit juice at all, but rather fruit “drinks” and is almost entirely sugar.

It’s important to start healthy eating habits early on. This includes developing a taste for whole fruits and vegetables opposed to juices, according to Dr. Alisa Muniz Crim, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.

For more information, please visit “No Fruit Juice Before Age 1, Pediatricians Say.”

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Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

Mon, 2017-05-22 23:47

Untitled by Dan Gold is licensed under CC0.


This week is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, and as the summer swim season approaches, adults and children will be flocking to local pools for fun in the sun and exercise. Not only is swimming a great way to have fun with family and friends, it’s also a fun form of physical activity. Just 2.5 hours of water-based (or other forms of) physical activity per week have health benefits for everyone. However, swimming, like any form of physical activity, is not risk-free. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries linked to the water we share and swim in, this summer and year-round. Check out some of the tips below to make sure you have the safest summer yet.

Illnesses and Germs

Chlorine can kill most germs within minutes at concentrations recommended by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and typically required by state and local health departments, but one germ, Cryptosporidium, can remain up to a week. To prevent Crypto and other illnesses, every swimmer should:

  • Stay out of the water if they have diarrhea.
  • Shower before you get in the water.
  • Not urinate or defecate in the water.
  • Not swallow the water.


Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning. Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for children ages 1–4 years. To keep swimmer safe:

  • Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Use life jackets appropriately.
  • Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
  • Know CPR.

Pool Chemicals

Pool chemicals are added to maintain water quality, but each year, mishandling of pool chemicals leads to 3,000 to 5,000 visits to emergency departments across the United States. To prevent injury by pool chemicals, pool operators should:

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment (for example, goggles), as directed on product labels, when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people, particularly young children, and animals.
  • Add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.

To learn more about Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, visit the CDC’s website.

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Wed, 2017-05-17 00:27

Untitled by Dan Gold is licensed under CC0.


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.

This year’s American Academy of Dermatology’s Skin Cancer Awareness Month theme is “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself,” encouraging women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer. Why women? Women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others, according to research.

Some of the simple steps you can take today to protect your skin are:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Put on sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
  • Cover up with long sleeves and a hat.
  • Check your skin regularly for changes.

For more information on Skin Cancer Awareness Month or spotting skin cancer, visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s website.

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Untitled by Dan Gold is licensed under CC0.

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Furry Friends Are Family Too

Thu, 2017-05-11 18:03

Suma Chewing by Brian Leaf is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US.


A staff member of the NNLM SCR recently adopted a new member to the family, a sweet little puppy. For some, our furry friends become members of our families. Even governmental entities are acknowledging these developments.

MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine’s consumer health resource, has a pet’s page called “Pet Health”. The Pet Health page contains curated links to the basics of pet health, prevention and risk factors, treatments and therapies, related issues, specifics, journal articles, and latest news.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet resource to assist you in creating your own plan and kit, so that you know Fluffy will also be taken care of in the event of a disaster.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has an Animal Health Literacy page that covers feed safety, animal drugs, and other information concerning your pets. For more information on pet toxicology, see the ASPCA Animal Poison Control page.

Our local library has also incorporated our certified furry friends in the form of therapy dogs, who bring cheer during test days. This has become a student and staff favorite!

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Overcoming the Obesity Gene

Thu, 2017-05-11 00:02

Untitled by Stephen Di Donato is licensed under CC0.

coffee shop

Doctors and researchers keep telling us that exercising is important. Well, if you have a family history of obesity, you could reduce the effect of the “obesity gene” by about one-third with regular exercise.

Lead researcher Mariaelisa Graff stressed that individuals still have a lot of choice over their behavior. If you choose to exercise, you have a chance at also reducing the risk.

“This shows, once again, that genes are not your destiny,” said Timothy Church, an obesity researcher not involved with the study.

There has been conflicting findings determining if it’s more of a person’s diet or lack of exercise that contributes to a person’s obesity the most.

However, Lavie, of the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute who is not affiliated with the study, explained that Americans nowadays are overall less active in work, at home and in leisure time. And while the benefits of exercise in this study is reducing obesity, regular exercise has been proven to prevent heart disease and in the long run, allow people to live a longer, healthier life.

The bottom line? Exercise.

For more information, please visit “No Excuses: Exercise Can Overcome the ‘Obesity Gene.’”

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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month: How to Protect Your Hearing in Your Leisure Time

Tue, 2017-05-09 02:40

Untitled by Juja Han is licensed under CC0.

coffee shop

With more than half of Americans who experience noise-induced hearing loss not working in noisy jobs, the spotlight turns to what Americans are doing in their leisure time. May 1st marks the beginning of Better Hearing & Speech Month—a time to assess lifestyle habits that may be contributing to hearing loss as well as schedule a hearing evaluation for anyone with concerns about their hearing.

About 40 million U.S. adults 20–69 years old have noise-induced hearing loss, a form of hearing damage that results from exposure to loud noise. This could be cumulative harm that developed from exposure over time, or it could occur from one severe episode. Although completely preventable, once it occurs, it is irreversible. Far from simply being an annoyance, hearing loss can affect almost all aspects of life, including physical health, mental health, employment status and success, social functioning and satisfaction, and much more. Hearing loss can be treated through various technologies and techniques under the care of a certified audiologist, but hearing is never fully restored.

In addition to the dangers posed by listening through earbuds or headphones at too-loud volumes and for too long, noisy settings are commonplace in today’s society. Many restaurants are specifically designed to elevate noise levels to make establishments feel more energetic. Similarly, some sports stadiums have been built with sound elevation in mind, thought to improve the fan experience and serve as a home-team advantage. Coffee shops, fitness classes, and more all make modern society a collectively loud place.

Here are some simple ways that you can take charge to better your hearing health—this month and always:

  • Wear hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs are cheap, portable, and (with a good fit) offer excellent hearing protection. Bring them along when you know you’ll be in a noisy setting.
  • Reduce exposure. Take steps to reduce your exposure to noisy settings. Visit noisy establishments during off times, consider quieter settings, and talk to managers if you find the noise level uncomfortable.
  • See a certified audiologist for a hearing evaluation. A recent government report stated that 1 in 4 U.S. adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage. Many adults don’t routinely get their hearing checked, and even those who are concerned often delay treatment for years. Postponing treatment can have serious medical and mental health repercussions in addition to reducing a person’s quality of life, so visit a certified audiologist if you have any concerns.

To find out more about Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website.

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May is Mental Health Month

Mon, 2017-05-01 23:46

Photo provided through Mental Health America’s Mental Health Month media kit.

mental health month

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

Mental Health Month was started 68 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.

This Mental Health Month, Mental Health America is encouraging people to educate themselves about behaviors and activities that could be harmful to recovery – and to speak up without shame using the hashtag #riskybusiness – so that others can learn if their behaviors are something to examine. Posting with the hashtag is a way to speak up, to educate without judgment, and to share your point of view or story with people who may be suffering—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

For more information on Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website.

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Are You Prepared for a Wildfire?

Thu, 2017-04-27 03:08

Untitled by Michael Held is licensed under CC0.


Last week was Wildfire Awareness Week, and it’s getting to be that season…are you prepared?

The New Mexico Department of Health is stressing less about how to prevent starting wildfires, but instead, more about what to do to protect yourself if a wildfire occurs nearby. The smoke that a wildfire produces can be very dangerous, and business, schools and other facilities where people gather might want to consider becoming clean air shelters in the event of a wildfire.

The smoke is one of the most dangerous effects of a wildfire for people in an area where one is occurring. The smoke can cause eye and respiratory irritation and exasperate lung and heart problems.

Here are some tips from the New Mexico Department of Health on what to do to protect yourself before and during a wildfire:

  • Replace HVAC filters annually.
  • Use the “recirculate” function on an air conditioner during a wildfire.
  • Use smart judgement to postpone outdoor events when necessary.
  • Stay indoors when advised to.

To read more about wildfire season, please visit “What You Need to Know to Get Prepared for Wildfire Season.”

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A Second Cancer is Worse for a Younger Person than an Older One

Tue, 2017-04-25 01:01

MRI by liz west is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


A new study published in JAMA Oncology finds that for those people who develop a second cancer (meaning a new cancer, not a recurrence), it’s the older patients that are more likely to survive. Previous studies have been done to learn more about second cancers, but little has been done linking age as a factor to survival rate.

The study compared more than 1 million cancer patients from 1992 to 2008. It showed that younger people are more likely to survive just one cancer compared to older adults, but when a second one appears, it’s the opposite.

The research did not point out exactly why this is the case, but researcher have made several suggestions, including limitations on types of doses or treatment, reduced physical reserve, and social issues.

To read more about the study, please visit “Second Cancers Deadlier for Younger People: Study.”

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CMS 2016 Final Rule and Emergency Preparedness

Fri, 2017-04-21 19:00

Untitled by Brian Leaf is licensed under CC0.


This past week, I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Emergency Preparedness Conference in New Orleans. It was a brand new topic for me, covering the four phases of emergency response:

  • Mitigation
  • Preparation
  • Response
  • Recovery

We heard from hospitals who served events like the Boston Marathon bombing, the Pulse Night Club incident, ransomware attacks, and and the recent flooding in August 2016. The focus of the conference, however, was on the the Joint Commission standards and, in particular, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) final rule Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers that went into effect on November 16, 2016.

According to a 2016 press release, the existing requirements for providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid did not include:

“(1) communication to coordinate with other systems of care within cities or states;

(2) contingency planning; and

(3) training of personnel.”

Given these deficiencies amid recent disasters, the CMS concluded that it was important to create a consistent foundation among all providers and suppliers, not just hospitals, to meet best practices in terms of having an emergency plan, policies and procedures, a communication, plan, and training and testing programs. This all includes coordinating with other stakeholders such as public health officials, responders, and other area providers to better effectively respond to events.

I am still thinking about discussions regarding non-clinicians and information professionals specifically, but my hope is that if there’s interest, we can feature an emergency preparedness expert on a future SCR CONNECTion to explore these intersections. Please feel free to email me with any thoughts:

Read more about this rule here.

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Poor Sleeping Patterns Get Worse With Age

Thu, 2017-04-20 00:01

Untitled by Unsplash is licensed under CC0.


A new study finds that as seniors get older, it is just generally harder for them to get a good, restorative night’s sleep, which in turn could worsen health problems. Many medical conditions may make it harder for a person to sleep well, but a poor night’s sleep can also contribute to disease.

The researchers used dementia as an example–dementia patients often have a difficult time sleeping, and these poor sleeping patterns also speed up their memory decline.

Recognize that good sleep is critical to good health, right along with a good diet and regular exercise…and regular exercise can generally help get you a good night’s sleep as well.

Seniors should talk to their doctors if they notice they are consistently sleeping less than six hours per night.

To read more about the study, please visit “Good Sleep Does Get Tougher With Age.”

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SCR Regional Highlight: New YMCA and Library in San Antonio Team Up to Provide Wellness and Knowledge

Mon, 2017-04-17 23:41

Photo provided by San Antonio Public Library


Together, the San Antonio Public Library System and the YMCA of Greater San Antonio opened a new facility in the quickly growing northwest San Antonio last November. The new facility has a shared lobby making it easy to learn how to improve your health in the Potranco Branch Library on one side of the facility, and then put that knowledge into action on the other side at the Mays Family YMCA at Potranco.

“Obviously a lot of our goals are the same,” said Cheryl Sheehan, San Antonio Public Library branch coordinator, in a Rivard Report article. “(We want) to change people’s live with health and information.”

The area where the new facility is located is a perfect spot, populated with many young professionals and families, but was underserved by these major institutions previously.

The YMCA branch will have extended hours to cater to the lives of the individuals it serves, and the library branch is considering something similar. The library has already installed after-hours hold lockers accessible in the shared lobby for YMCA patrons to pick up books they requested. And there is a Redbox-like machine where library patrons can browse books to checkout after hours, similar to how someone can rent movies through a Redbox.

The new YMCA branch also isn’t limited to just exercise equipment and summer camps–they’ve adapted to fit the needs of the community and promote overall wellness by building a test kitchen, while also hiring a registered dietician (in conjunction, the library will have healthy cookbooks), a peaceful outdoor area, a teen corner that will provide more independence, and a children’s area that will allow kids to learn through playtime.

Overall, the facility is able to combine two important components for a person’s well being and bring them together in a cohesive unit.

To read more about the new facility, please visit “YMCA and SAPL United to Bring Wellness to Northwest San Antonio.”

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When Too Many Lab Tests are Bad for Your Health

Wed, 2017-04-12 19:00

Running a Test by is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Imagine you visit your doctor and get some shocking news. You have a rare disease with no cure or treatment and only have a few months left to live. After you come to terms with the news, you start making arrangements, perhaps work on some of those things on your bucket list. Then you get a call from your doctor; there’s been a mistake, you’ve been misdiagnosed, and now have a long life to look forward to.

While this may sound like the plot to a feel-good movie or a hypothetical philosophical debate, the issue of over diagnosis is a very real one. Over diagnosis is a side effect of screening tests, which are given to people who seem healthy to find unnoticed problems. While these screening tests can help catch chronic health conditions early, in some cases the results can be harmful.

Screening tests are not 100% accurate, so while they are helpful for finding hidden disease, they can also give inaccurate results. The situation described above might be the consequence of getting a false positive for a screening test, when the test results incorrectly indicate a disease. Also possible is a false negative, which means you’re told you don’t have the disease when you do, perhaps causing you to ignore symptoms that appear later on.

According to Dr. Barnett S. Kramer, a cancer prevention expert at NIH, “I wouldn’t say that all people should just simply get screening tests. Patients should be aware of both the potential benefits and the harms when they’re choosing what screening test to have and how often.”

When deciding whether to get a screening test, a number of factors should be considered, like your age, family health history, or lifestyle exposures like smoking. You should also consult with your healthcare provider to determine what screening tests are right for you and how regularly you should have them.

To find out more, you’ll soon be able to watch the archived recording of our recent webinar SCR CONNECTions – Over Diagnosis: Why Too Many Lab Tests are Bad for Your Health starting April 17 on our website.

Source: Adapted from NIH News in Health Article “To Screen or Not to Screen? The Benefits and Harms of Screening Tests,” March 2017 <>

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Prepare Yourself for Flood and Tornado Season in Texas

Mon, 2017-04-10 23:48

Untitled by Eutah Mizushima is licensed under CC0.


For native Texans, you may be well aware of the weather episodes that come with the warmer weather that spring brings–often tornadoes and floods. We want to know though, are you prepared if one of these were to happen right now?

There are three steps you need to take to be ready:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Build a kit
  3. Get informed

When making a plan, have one for every sort of disaster or weather even that could happen. Where should family members meet if they need to evacuate the house? Do you have a basement you can take shelter in during a tornado or hurricane? If not, what should you do?

When putting your kit together, make sure to include plenty of water and non-perishable food items. Make sure it’s in a portable container in case you need to take it with you. Also, don’t forget a first-aid kit in case someone is injured.

Finally, get informed by listening to the news to know when a severe weather event might occur. Also be aware of some basic statistics, like on average, how many tornadoes strike Texas each year and generally when can you expect the,?

Even if you don’t live in Texas, being prepared for an emergency is something anyone can do.

To find out more about how to prepare yourself for an emergency, please visit

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National Library Week

Mon, 2017-04-10 23:45

Photo by Lisa Smith, NNLM SCR


This week is National Library Week, which we are proud to celebrate since we are a branch of the National Library of Medicine, and our program office is housed within the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Gibson D. Lewis Library in Fort Worth, Texas.

This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.” The theme is perfect, particularly for Lewis Library, as we have been trying to transform the public’s perception that not all libraries are filled with tons and tons of books anymore now that we have moved into the digital age. In fact, in the Lewis Library there is only one small room that now has hard copies of books!

There are plenty of ways to get involved in this year’s National Library Week. See below for a couple of ideas.

  • Participate in the #expertinthelibrary campaign. Share what your expertise is!
  • Share your story through the 2017 video challenge. If you’re interested in learning about some of the librarians in the SCR region, check out our Meet Me Monday series.
  • For those who aren’t a librarian, simply visit a library!

For more details about this week-long event, please visit the American Library Association’s website and the Libraries Transform Campaign website.

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Loneliness Could Lead to a Worse Cold

Thu, 2017-04-06 08:00

Untitled by Mojpe is licensed under CC0.


Having a cold, or being sick in any regard, is never fun. But new research is suggesting that if you’re lonely, a cold might feel even more miserable.

The study looked at 159 individuals who were all single ages 18-55 that were all infected with the common cold through nose drops.

The study was unable to prove true cause-and-effect, however it did show a difference in the severity of symptoms.

“[Chris] Fagundes [psychologist] and [Angie] LeRoy, [study co-author] found that people who said they had less “social support” had cold symptoms that were more severe compared to people who felt more socially included,” according to the MedlinePlus article.

To read more about the study, please visit “A Lonely Heart Could Worsen a Cold.”

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This Week is National Public Health Week

Tue, 2017-04-04 00:44

Untitled by Julia Raasch is licensed under CC0.


It’s National Public Health Week! This annual health observance is hosted by the American Public Health Association, which tries to promote public health so that the United States can become the healthiest nation in one generation (by 2030).

But just what exactly is public health? “Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play,” according to APHA’s website. An example of public health is how a doctor will treat you when you are sick, but public health advocates are trying to prevent you from getting sick in the first place.

There are plenty of ways to get involved this year. Here’s a few ideas:

For more information on National Public Health Week, visit its website.

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Random DNA Cause of Many Cancers

Wed, 2017-03-29 23:54

Untitled by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC0.


While diet, environment, habits and more are some of the reasons certain people develop cancer, chance plays a pretty big role as well. New research shows that most tumors develop simply because of a genetic “mistake,” also called DNA copying errors.

Johns Hopkins University investigators looked at abnormal cell growth in 32 different types of cancers and found that many cancer cases are the result of gene mutations that are purely random. These random mutations have generally been scientifically undervalued, according to study co-author Cristian Tomasetti in a MedlinePlus article.

It is important to note that while many cancer cases are random, and therefore unpreventable, many mutations are also caused by certain outside factors, and don’t just occur randomly. A good example is lung cancer–the majority of these mutations occur because a person has smoked.

Overall, the study could help shed light on cancer cases that doctors can’t determine the cause. They may seem random because they are.

To read more about the study, please visit “Most Cancers Caused by Random DNA Copying Errors.”

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The Elephant Sitting On Your Chest: Asthma & Allergens

Wed, 2017-03-29 19:00

“Untitled” by Darren Coleshill is licensed under CC0/span>.


From winter into spring, the transition is beautiful. Trees are full of leaves and flowers are in full bloom. In Texas, the bluebonnets grace our highways. The sun is out, shining brightly. Suddenly, some of us start wheezing, coughing, and sneezing.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), allergens in the environment can trigger seasonal allergies and asthma. Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lung and is now the most common chronic disorder in childhood. The prevalence has increased over the years. According to CDC Vital Signs 1 in 12 people have asthma in the United States. Oxygen absorption in the lungs is a crucial function of the body. With asthma, the airway becomes inflamed, swollen, and narrow. Less air is able to get to the lung tissue. Some describe feeling as if an elephant is sitting on their chest.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s conducted an extensive survey, known as the National Survey of Lead Hazards and Allergens in Housing. The results were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It found that 46% of homes had dust mite allergens high enough to produce allergic reactions and one quarter of the homes had allergen levels high enough to trigger asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals. Nearly two-thirds of American homes have cockroach allergens.

What can we do? See the NIEHS Fact Sheet for some simple steps for decreasing indoor allergens. See the NIEHS and the NHLBI for more information.

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American Diabetes Alert Day: Are You at Risk?

Tue, 2017-03-28 00:16

“Cupcakes and donuts from above” by Jakub Kapusnak is licensed under CC0.

little girl

Today is American Diabetes Alert Day, and did you know that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.–killing more than 75,000 people annually? In honor of this observance, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is encouraging Oklahomans to check their risk of developing diabetes, as well as sound the alarm for the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Oklahoma ranks number 9 in the United States for states with most adults with type 2 diabetes.

Finding out if you are at high risk for developing diabetes is simple; just go to to take the American Diabetes Association risk test, which is offered in both Spanish and English. If you determine that you or someone you know is at risk, there are plenty of other steps you can take, including becoming involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program–there are dozens of programs offered through Oklahoma as well as across the nation.

To read more about American Diabetes Alert Day and Oklahoma, please visit “American Diabetes Alert Day: Find Out If You Are At Risk Today.”

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