Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Science and preparedness go hand-in-hand: Say yes to the March for Science

Imagine this: you’re sitting in a tree house eating ants on a log and playing Two Truths and a Lie. You say, “Tsunamis are fake, the Get Ready Blog is fantastic and science is fascinating.”

If this aligns with your truth — you know tsunamis are real and love our Get Ready campaign, science, tree houses and more — the March for Science is for you and you are for the march!

This Earth Day, April 22, scientists and supporters are marching to celebrate science, with over 170 organizations and counting. The march distinguishes science as not just lab coats, goggles and Bill Nye the Science Guy, but as an explanation of the world around us.

Science and preparedness go hand-in-hand. Science provides the facts on climate change, including increasing heat waves, tropical storms, floods, fires and more. Because of science, we know that it’s more important than ever to be prepared for disasters. And as our APHA T-shirt says, “science is evidence, not opinion.”

March with APHA in Washington, D.C. or join one of the hundreds of local events. If you can’t attend in person, watch a livestream of the D.C. event on the March for Science website and chime in on social media with the #marchforscience hashtag.

But wait, preparedness first! Before you run out the door full of excitement and line up in the nation’s capital or in your hometown, make sure you’re prepared for crowds. And print out some of our great pro-science signs to show your love for the cause.

Happy marching!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Add to your cart: Announcing our Get Ready Store

Have you been patiently awaiting the arrival of an online store with a large range of Get Ready items? Well, the wait is over. A fabulous selection of preparedness-themed merchandise is now available on  our Get Ready Store

What can you expect from our store? Lots! Adult and children’s clothingaccessoriespet geardrink waredécor and gifts — complete with Get Ready’s famous blend of preparedness humor and education.

Get Ready items make great gifts. Pick up a shirt for your dog, tote for your mom and mugs for the team at the office. A Get Ready lunch bag would be a great gift for that public health grad in your life.

Our Get Ready designs are both attractive and informative. They’ll remind you to be prepared, wherever you are. Worried about disease outbreaks? “Keep calm and take a shot,” as one of our designs says. (Meaning a vaccine, of course!)

Purchases from the store help support the Get Ready campaign’s goal of helping Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for disasters. Plus, they’ll make you look super stylish.

If you want more great public health-themed items, check out the APHA Merchandise Store.

Start shopping our fun new styles on the Get Ready Store now!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

It’s NPHW! Get ready to join the party

Looking for a reason to celebrate? Guess what? It’s National Public Health Week!

APHA is using April 3-9 to celebrate the importance of public health for both individuals and communities. Where we live, work and play has a major role in shaping health. By addressing the social and environmental factors of health we’ll be the “Healthiest Nation 2030.”

NPHW is a great time to highlight preparedness, as public health and emergency planning go hand in hand. Ensuring emergency health services are in place, evacuation routes are known and households are stocked with emergency supplies are great ways to build healthier communities.

If you want to make sure your community is taking part, here’s how to join the party and show your support for a good cause:

  • Check out the NPHW website for many great resources to help you get involved. Look through the toolkit, review the facts for the week and share images on social media.
  • Stay tuned to the NPHW calendar for information and updates on this year’s NPHW activities. These activities are a great way to have fun and get involved in NPHW. Don’t miss out!
  • Follow @NPHW on Twitter. On Wednesday, April 5, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, APHA will be hosting an NPHW Twitter chat. Use the #NPHWchat hashtag and celebrate good times with your fellow tweeps! 
  • Pass out some of Get Ready’s many preparedness fact sheets at your community events. Or share copies at the office, home or school. After all, everyone can use preparedness tips. 
So, do what you need to do to get in the party mood. Pull out the leather jacket in the back of your closet that makes you feel like Danny Zuko, or if unicorn onesies are your thing, put it on ASAP, because this National Public Health Week is a time to celebrate.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Get Ready Mailbag: What’s the deal with bird flu?

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to getready@apha.org.

I’ve been hearing a lot about bird flu on the news lately. What the heck is bird flu? Should I be worried?
Avian flu, also known as bird flu, is a virus that occurs naturally in wild aquatic birds, like ducks. It becomes a problem when it infects domestic birds, like chickens and turkeys, and makes them sick.
You’ve probably been hearing about it lately because there have been outbreaks in birds on three Tennessee farms. Another poultry farm in Alabama showed positive signs of bird flu as well. Poultry that’s been cooked to a proper temperature doesn’t pose a risk to consumers. But officials removed the birds from the food supply just in case. It’s better to be safe!

Can I catch it?
It’s possible, but doubtful. Like the flu virus that makes humans sick, bird flu can mutate. If that happens, it can infect humans and other vertebrates. Human infections happen when the virus gets into your body through your nose, mouth or eyes.
People at the highest risk are workers who farm domestic birds and interact with them frequently. There has been an outbreak of bird flu in China this year, mostly in people who spent time near live poultry. Humans infected with bird flu very rarely pass it on to other humans.

I love chicken, and eat it almost every day. Should I stop eating it?
If you cook your poultry thoroughly you should be fine. In fact, you should always cook meat as recommended to protect against bacteria and other infectious diseases. Raw poultry is associated with many infections, like salmonella. Remember to carefully wash all knives and cutting boards after use, and don’t let raw and cooked meat or juices mix together. Don’t forget to cook all eggs thoroughly, too.

I am traveling to China next month for work. Am I safe from the bird flu outbreak there?
If you avoid poultry markets and farms, you should be fine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to stay away from places where live birds are raised, kept or sold when traveling to China or anywhere else. Also, make sure that all poultry that you will be eating, including that delicious Peking duck, is properly cooked.

I keep backyard chickens. Should I be worried about them?
As much as possible, keep your flock away from wild birds. Put away food and water so you don’t attract species that could carry a virus. Wear gloves and wash your hands frequently after handling birds.

My daughter watches Big Bird on Sesame Street every morning. Can he get bird flu?
No, Big Bird is a puppet and therefore not susceptible to bird flu. His puppeteer Caroll Spinney, however, should take care to avoid poultry farms, and thoroughly cook all poultry and eggs before he eats them.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deadly bites: Protecting yourself against Lyme disease

What do frost, a mosquito and a tick have in common? Their bites can be deadly. But only a tick can spread a serious illness called Lyme disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are over 30,000 new cases of Lyme — pronounced like “lime” — disease every year. It is mainly caused by one type of bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. But last year, scientists discovered a new species of bacteria in deer ticks that also causes Lyme disease. This species, Borrelia mayonii, can be found in the upper Midwest U.S. (Note: The new bacteria are named after the founders of the Mayo clinic where some of the researchers work — not mayonnaise!)

So what does this new bacteria mean? Should I be worried?

Don’t freak out! New bacteria, same risk. This new bacteria poses similar dangers. You should still guard yourself and your family carefully against ticks, as Lyme disease is spread when an infected tick bites a human. It is mainly reported in the northeastern U.S. and upper Midwest.

Lyme disease caused by both B. burgdorferi and B. mayonii can cause fever, headache, rash and neck pain. But while B. burgdorferi can cause a bull’s- eye-like rash, B. mayonii has a diffuse rash. B. mayonii is also associated with nausea and vomiting.

Either way, you can help guard yourself against tick bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying on trails when hiking. Spray yourself with an insect repellant that has DEET if you are going outside. As Harry Potter’s Mad-Eye Moody would say, “Constant vigilance.”

Check yourself for ticks and symptoms of Lyme disease before you wreck yourself! Be thorough: Examine your feet, ankles, armpits, groin and neck carefully. These are the places that ticks love the most. And remember to check your pets, too.
CDC tick removal tips.

Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics, but it gets harder to heal the longer you wait for treatment. If you see that you have been bitten by a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers. Ask your doctor about being tested for bite-related diseases.

For more tips on avoiding ticks and Lyme disease, check out our Get Ready fact sheet