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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

‘Baby got packed’: Prepare for a safe spring break to the beat of Sir Mix-A-Lot

Spring break is often a time filled with sunshine, friends and activities that might just drop your parent’s jaw to the ground. And it’s a perfect reminder to refresh your emergency preparedness knowledge.

Whether you’re way past the spring break revelry or right in the thick of it, make sure you know how to have a safe vacay. Inspired by the lyrics of the very talented Sir Mix-A-Lot here are five questions to ask yourself before your trip:

1. Do I know the hazards where I’m going and how to handle them?
“I like good plans and I cannot lie…” Do some research on the area you’re traveling to. For example, are hurricanes, tsunamis and heat waves a possibility? If so, do you know how to handle them? Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department for travel safety tips for your destination before you head out.

2. Do I have all the vaccinations I need to be protected?
“‘Cause you ain't that average groupie,” don’t follow the norm if the norm isn’t getting vaccines. Vaccinations can protect you from a range of infectious diseases. And trust us, you don’t want to bring any of these home as a souvenir. CDC recommends talking to your doctor about vaccines a few weeks before you head out.

3. Have I packed the right things?
“Baby got…packed.” Make sure you have the right clothing and have what you need to protect yourself from hazards and dangerous weather. Don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen!

4. Are my important documents safe?
If you’re “hooked and you can’t stop staring” at the beautiful scenery once you arrive, make sure you already have your passport and other critical documents safe. You never know when you may need to bolt because of hazardous weather.

5. Do I know evacuation routes and emergency numbers?
Make sure you aren’t left dialing 1-900-MIXALOT in the case of an emergency. Know the local equivalent to 911, as well as where fire exits, stairwells and other evacuation essentials are located where you are staying.

Want even more? Check out our Get Ready materials and read  recommendations on spring break safety from CDC.

Have a happy, safe spring break and “kick them nasty thoughts!”

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Daylight saving begins March 12: Don’t forget to set your clocks and check your stocks

Daylight saving time springs forward this Sunday at 2 a.m., which means we lose an hour of sleep. The good news — besides that extra sunlight at the end of the day — is that you can use the clock change as a reminder to check your preparedness stockpile.

What is this campaign about? Click here to learn more.
Thanks to Get Ready’s Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign, you’ll never be missing important emergency items when a disaster happens. Here are eight things to double-check along with your alarm clock:

1.  Did you raid the emergency stocks for canned fruit after noticing you were out and craving some peach cobbler? You should have enough shelf-stable food stored to last three days. Remember to purchase canned fruit packed in juice, not syrup. Also, be sure to have a manual can opener on hand!

2.  Do you have three gallons of water per person per day stored? Or did your daughter decide to fill up the fish tank? In an emergency, water can stop running from the tap or be unsafe to drink. Make sure you have enough for everyone, plus some left over to brush your teeth.
 
3.  Did the resident chipmunks in your garage take advantage of your emergency granola bars? Be sure to check all stocks for damage by insects and other pests.

3.  Has your son borrowed the emergency flashlight to tell scary stories by the campfire on his Boy Scouts overnighter? In an emergency, you may lose power. Check to make sure you have a working flashlight. Battery-powered, hand-cranked or solar-powered all work fine. Candles can cause fires, so they’re not the safe choice for emergencies.

4.  Do you really want to eat canned tomatoes that you bought preparing for Y2K? (Here’s a hint: you do not.) Check the expiration dates on all of your emergency food and water stocks. Try to purchase foods that don’t require refrigeration and are low in salt. (AKA, no salted caramel ice cream. Sorry, Joe.)

Like this meme? Check out more of our social media graphics.

5.  Are there enough batteries for your emergency flashlights and radio? Or were they stolen to power “batteries-not-included” toys on Christmas morning? Make sure to check the expiration date on your batteries, and confirm they haven’t been exposed to snow or rain. You’ll want to have enough ready for your emergency radio, which is a great way to get weather and disaster alerts.

6.  Do you have emergency medication and copies of important documents for all family members? Or have your stocks not been updated since Suzy was born? It’s important to have paperwork and medical supplies for all family members in case disaster strikes. Depending on your needs, contact lens solution or diapers may be necessary as well.

7.  Did you forget about Fido? Pets are loved ones, too! Include food, medication and other supplies for your animals in any emergency kit. 

After checking for all of these items, you can rest easy — though an hour less! — knowing your family is prepared for an emergency.

P.S. People living in Arizona and Hawaii: Just because you don’t observe daylight saving doesn’t mean you don’t experience emergencies. Remember to check your stockpiles, too!


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Get Ready profile: Speaking up for women’s voices and making a difference in preparedness

March is Women’s History Month, an annual observance that celebrates the vital role of women in American history. To mark the month, APHA’s Get Ready Blog spoke to Eva Jarawan, PhD, MBA, MPH, an assistant professor in the Department of International Health at Georgetown University Medical Center, about her work in global emergency preparedness. 

In the 1800s education and legislation were considered “too weighty for the sensitive fibers of the female mind.” Luckily, such laughable ideas have long been discarded. Women are leading universities, organizations and nations — and the fibers of their minds are doing just dandy, thank you very much.

Women have made major strides in the field of health, including emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Among those is Eva Jarawan, a Georgetown University professor who has worked in public health for over 30 years, striving to protect the health of people around the world during emergencies.

Her career has included work at the World Bank, where she served people on a global scale. She also worked in countries such as Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo on projects that tackled HIV/AIDS and health effects that linger after conflicts have ended.

Jarawan’s success in the field didn’t come about without discrimination based on her gender, she noted. Early in her career, her salaries were often below those of her male counterparts, even below those of the students graduating from her class. Back then, women were sometimes not standing up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs or were embarrassed, especially in developing countries, she said. As it took time for her to gain self-confidence, she identified with them. But she has since found her voice.

 “Women have to speak up,” Jarawan said.

As a professor, Jarawan continues to improve health through her teaching and research and stays abreast of emergency preparedness needs around the world.

Jarawan told the Get Ready campaign that she admired protections put in place for emergencies in the U.S. But she expressed concern that too many people lag at getting ready despite knowing that they should be prepared for disasters. Looking to past disasters can motivate people to get ready for what may happen next, she pointed out.

“People try to draw lessons from them and improve, and that’s important,” Jarawan said.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Flu is here, and it’s widespread. Get vaccinated.

Want more public health memes?
It’s official: the flu is more widespread than Bieber fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is widespread throughout most of the U.S. and case counts have been increasing. Serious influenza activity was reported in 46 states and Puerto Rico as of Feb. 11, says CDC’s weekly FluView report.

From October to mid-February, more than 8,222 people had been hospitalized in the U.S. because of the flu. Tragically, at least 29 children have died from flu this season. The flu can cause serious illness in children under 5 and adults over age 65, as well as pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions. But, just like Bieber’s sweet jams, everyone is susceptible.

Annual vaccinations are the best way to prevent flu and its complications. Yearly flu shots are recommended for everyone ages 6 months or older, so if you’re not a baby — baby,baby, baby, ohhhhh — then ask your doctor or local pharmacist about getting a flu vaccine.

For this flu season, CDC recommends that your vaccine come in the form of the flu shot. The nasal spray flu vaccine shouldn’t be used this year, because it wasn’t shown to be effective.

It might be too late now to say sorry, but it’s not too late to get your flu shot and protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Share the preparedness love with our new Get Ready Valentine’s Day e-cards

APHA’s Get Ready campaign has 13 new preparedness-themed Valentine’s Day e-cards for you to share with the people you love! From cute and fuzzy animals to fun memes, there’s a card for everyone in our new lineup.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness about emergency preparedness. Whether it’s for a buddy or your significant other, they will appreciate knowing you care about their health and happiness because that, THAT is real love.

Plus you get brownie points for something that takes just a few minutes — a win, win.





















You can email, tweet or post them to Facebook — or even print them out. Just visit our Valentine’s Day e-card page, pick your favorites and spread some awareness and love!  

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Take on winter safety this year with our new infographic

Winter can be tough. You’re coping with holiday stress, hoarding lip balm and navigating every public transportation ride like it’s an obstacle course for your immune system.

Sadly, these colder months also come with other serious side effects. Every year, dozens of Americans die and thousands are injured because of winter weather. Winter storms can also be costly: In 2015, winter storms cost U.S. property owners $530 million in damage. 

While weather conditions can’t be controlled, the toll it takes on you and your community can. That’s where our new Get Ready infographic comes in. Live now on our website, the graphic offers key tips for staying safe before, during and after a winter storm.

For example, did you know it’s important to winterize your car before a storm occurs? About 70 percent of winter storm deaths are car-related. Reduce your risk and check your car’s battery, brakes, anti-freeze, gas tank and heater before heading out.

If you own a home, it’s also a good idea to insulate your home’s water lines, check heating systems and install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors.

And don’t forget to stock up on emergency supplies both before and after the storm. Fill your emergency supply kit with water, food, first-aid items, flashlights, batteries, medications and other necessities.

Check out our winter storms infographic now and share it with someone you care about.

And while you’re on our site, check out our other Get Ready infographics. They’re perfect for sharing on your website, via social media and at community events. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Download an app and get ready for disasters on the go

These days, it may seem like there’s an app for everything. But can apps save your life during a disaster? Actually, they can.

From storms to floods to wildfires to earthquakes, disasters happen more often than you may think. But with just a few clicks on your smartphone, you can get your own Marauder’s Map for disasters and never be caught off guard.

Apps can tell you if a disaster is looming nearby. They can also tell you what you can do before, during and after it strikes to protect yourself and others from harm.

One of the most important kinds of apps to install on your phone is a local preparedness app. Such apps are usually offered through government emergency management offices, and are available for many cities and areas nationwide. This way, you can keep up with what’s going on right in your area. Go to your app store and search for your community.

Other great apps to install are offered by the American Red Cross. The organization has apps for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. If you don’t want to install them all, download their all-inclusive emergency app.

Also handy to have on your phone is the Federal Emergency Management Agency App. The app has safety tools and tips covered and offers guidance for over 20 types of weather disasters. You can use it to locate open emergency shelters and share photos to aid first responders. The app is even available in Spanish.

You also won’t want to miss the National Weather Service’s e-tool. While it’s not exactly an app, you can make the site’s mobile home page a thumbnail on your home screen that can work the same way. Just follow the instructions on the website, and get their local weather forecasts anywhere with just a click.

Now you’re ready to be prepared for disasters, wherever you are!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Make a New Year’s promise you can keep this year: Resolve to be ready

“In 2017, I’m going to stop crying during sappy commercials, love myself like Kanye loves himself and catch up on all the resolutions I didn’t do last year.” Do resolutions like these sound familiar to you?

How about this year you just pick one resolution, and make it one that you can keep: Resolve to be ready. It’s easy to be prepared for disasters and you’ll feel really good about having done it.
So without further fanfare, repeat after us:

  • “I will put together a preparedness kit.” Download a checklist and head to the store. Be sure and pick up nonperishable food and water, a radio, flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit
  • “I will make a plan.” Know what to do in different emergency scenarios. Choose a person to contact outside of your local area to communicate through and make sure your whole family has their phone number and email. Practice your evacuation and crisis plans, and don’t forget to make a plan for your pet!
  • “I will be informed.” Learn what emergencies are most likely to happen where you live and be prepared for them. For example, if you live near a fault line, learn what to do in an earthquake. And no matter where you live, learn basic first-aid and CPR. If something happens, you may be able to save the life of someone you care about.
  • “I will install an emergency app on my phone.” Download an emergency app or two. The American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Weather.gov and many local jurisdictions all offer free preparedness and alert resources that you can download with just a few clicks.  

Remember, a lot of familiar things will happen this year: Jennifer Aniston will probably continue not to age and your mom will probably not get the point of Snapchat. But this year, one thing will be new: You are going to be more prepared for disasters!

Learn more about how to prepare with our many free Get Ready fact sheets.