Archive | July, 2015

Summer Insect Prevention Tips

25 Jul

Aedes_Albopictus

  • Never apply bug spray before sunscreen
  • Apply sprays thoroughly and always read directions carefully
  • Do no trust smartphone applications that claim to keep bugs away with high-frequency sound
  • Do not be afraid of products containing deet (a high concentration of deet does not mean a product is stronger, but it will last longer)
  • Most repellents do not protect against stinging bugs, such as wasps, bees, or fire ants
  • Young children should not apply bug repellent themselves
  • Wash your hands after application of any repellent
  • Do not spray repellent inside or near food
  • Bug Bam! Insect Repellent Wristbands are effective for up to 100 hours if stored properly
  • Cover up when you can with long sleeves and long pants when around buggy areas
  • The mosquitos that spread West Nile virus bite between dusk and dawn, so try to limit the time you spend outdoors during these hours
  • The CDC and EPA recommend you check repellent labels to make sure they contain these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus

Stay Cool- Getting Too Hot Can Be Dangerous

18 Jul

summer

Many people love the warm summer months. But hot and humid days can sometimes be dangerous. It’s not good for the body to be too hot for too long. Too much heat can damage your brain and other organs. It’s important to keep your cool when the days are hot.

Your body has its own natural cooling system. Sweating is key to cooling when hot weather or exercise causes your body temperature to climb. When sweat dries, it carries heat away from your body’s surface and lowers your temperature. When sweating isn’t enough to help you cool down, you’re at risk for a heat-related illness called hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia can happen to anyone. Older people, infants and young children, and people who are ill, obese or on certain medications are especially at risk. These people may be more sensitive to the effects of extreme heat and less likely to sense or respond to changes in temperature.

“High temperatures can cause various organs within the body not to function optimally,” says Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute on Aging. Excess body heat can stress the heart and harm the brain. It might even lead to a coma.

Hyperthermia can cause several heat-related illnesses, ranging from mild to serious. These include heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms or legs. If you have heat cramps, find a way to cool your body and be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Heat edema is a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot. Elevating your legs should help. If that doesn’t work fairly quickly, check with a health professional.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel dizzy, thirsty, weak, uncoordinated and nauseated. Your skin might feel cold and clammy, and you may have a rapid pulse. If this happens, drink plenty of fluids and rest in a cool place. If you’re not careful, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104° Fahrenheit or more. Heat stroke can lead to confusion, fainting, staggering, strange behavior or dry, flushed skin. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

“If you and a loved one are at a picnic, for example, and it’s very hot and humid that day, and they start complaining of being dizzy or seem disoriented, you need to be very concerned,” says Bernard. “You need to get them into a cool place, put cool compresses on their neck and wrists, and call 911.”

Air conditioning is the best way to protect against hyperthermia. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to places that are cool on hot and humid days. Try community centers, shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries or the homes of friends and family.

Heat-related illness is preventable. Still, hundreds of deaths from extreme heat events occur in the United States each year. It’s important to be aware of who’s at greatest risk so you can take steps to help beat the heat.

 

Article Published from IH News in Health

Insect Bites & West Nile Virus

11 Jul

bug

Most insect bites are harmless, though they sometimes cause discomfort. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings and fire ant bites usually hurt. Mosquito, flea, and mite bites usually itch. Insects can also spread diseases. In the United States, some mosquitoes spread West Nile virus. Travelers outside the United States may be at risk for malaria and other infections.

To prevent insect bites and their complications

  • Don’t bother insects
  • Use insect repellant
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects
  • If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites, carry an emergency epinephrine kit

West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious disease that first appeared in the United States in 1999. Infected mosquitoes spread the virus that causes it. People who get WNV usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. They can last a few days to several weeks, and usually go away on their own.

If West Nile virus enters the brain, however, it can be life-threatening. It may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis. A physical exam, health history and laboratory tests can diagnose it.

Older people and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease. The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets or barrels
  • Stay indoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Use screens on windows to keep mosquitoes out

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

July Challenge!

4 Jul

beach

Summer is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors; whether you are hiking through the woods, going for a run, camping or just enjoying your patio, HAWA wants to help keep you safe!

Your July Challenges:

Download some of HAWA’s recommended Summer APPS:

  • Ulraviolet-UV Index
  • First Aid by American Red Cross
  • Storm by Weather Underground
  • Safe Skipper LITE
  • Tick ID Anti Mosquito-Sonic Repeller

Stay Hydrated

  • Check out some of HAWA’s Hydration Pinterest Boards:
    • Flavor Your Water
    • Healthy Drinking
    • Juicing

Protect Yourself

  • Wear sunscreen everyday
  • Look out for the ABCD’s of skin cancer
  • Make sure you wear the proper attire when you are outside and camping
  • Check for bug bites

Stay Active

We challenge you to another month of HAWA’s Summer Slim Down Challenge Calendar which you can find on page 3 of your HAWA Health eNewsletter. If you need help with some of the workouts, check out our Pinterest Board “Fitness Challenge”  https://www.pinterest.com/HealthAsWeAge/fitness-challenge/ for descriptions and step by step demonstrations.