Friday, February 25, 2011

Mono and teens: More than just hype

Mono. For some adults, just hearing the word brings back parental warnings on the dangers of teen makeout sessions and straw sharing.

There’s a reason why many of us hear about mono, officially known as mononucleosis, during our teens: It’s more common in that age group. Most of us carry the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mono, and become infected with it at least once. However, the virus doesn’t usually cause symptoms or just seems like a cold. But in teens and young adults, the virus leads to infectious mono 35 percent to 50 percent of the time. Hence the warnings many of us remember from a younger age.

Symptoms of mono include fever, sore throat and swollen lymph glands. It’s spread by prolonged contact of saliva, such as kissing. Mono usually clears up in about one or two months, but at times it can last longer.

There’s no vaccine or cure for mono, but you can relieve the symptoms by drinking fluids, gargling with warm salt water to ease a sore throat, getting plenty of rest and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and fever.

To prevent catching mono, follow a few simple tips. Wash your hands frequently and avoid those who have the disease. Don’t share cups, utensils or straws with someone who is sick, and never share a toothbrush. And of course, never kiss someone who is sick.

Friday, February 18, 2011

¡Pase la voz sobre la importancia de el lavado de manos con los nuevos folletos de la campaña Get Ready!

Mi abuela siempre decía “Más vale prevenir que curar.” Nunca subestimes el poder de el lavado de manos cuando se trata de la prevención de enfermedades. De hecho, lavarse las manos es lo mejor que puedes hacer para prevenir la propagación de germens y infecciones. Es simple y fàcil de hacer.

Sin embargo, según un estudio realizado en el 2010 sólo el 85 por ciento de los adultos se lavaron las manos después de usar un baño público. Sólo el 39 por ciento reportaron siempre lavarse las manos después de toser o estornudar. Con esto en mente, la campaña de Get Ready ha creado folletos gratis y fácil de leer para ayudar a sacar el mensaje sobre la importancia de lavarse las manos y más importante demostrar una vez más que nuestras abuelitas tenían toda la razón.

Los folletos, que están disponibles en Inglés y Español, incluyen

Información general sobre el lavado de manos

Información para los padres y cuidadores de niños

Consejos para maestros y guarderías

Lecturas para leérle a los niños en edads preescolar

Y mucho más

Aquí hay algunas cosas para tener en cuenta. Lávese las manos antes de comer, antes, durante y después de preparar alimentos, después de entrar en contacto con heridas, después de tocar animals, después de ir al baño y cuando este cerca de alguien que este enfermo. Recuerde que debe utilizar agua tibia y jabón (o desinfectante de manos si no hay agua disponible). Lavese bien toda la superficie de las manos, incluyendo muñecas, palmass, dedos y debajo de las uñas. Frótese las manos enjabonadas durante 20 segundos. Enjuagase bien. ¡Es así de simple!

Para obtener más información sobre el lavado de manos, visite la página de el lavado de manos de la campaña de Get Ready. Baje y imprima los folletos y compartalos con sus seres queridos.

Crédito: Foto cortesía de iStockphoto

Free Get Ready fact sheets spread the message about hand-washing

Never underestimate the power of hand-washing when it comes to preventing disease. In fact, washing your hands is the best thing you can do to prevent the spread of germs and infections. It’s so simple and easy to do.

Yet according to a 2010 study, only 85 percent of adults wash their hands after visiting a public restroom. Only 39 percent say they always wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. With this in mind, APHA’s Get Ready campaign has created free, easy-to-read fact sheets to help you spread the message about the importance of hand-washing.

The fact sheets, which are available in both English and Spanish, include

general hand-washing facts,

information for parents and caregivers,

tips for teachers and day cares,

read-along facts for preschoolers, and

advice for kids.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind: Wash your when preparing food and before eating. You should also wash them after touching animals and using the bathroom, as well as when you’re around somebody who’s sick. Remember to use warm water and soap. Rub your hands together well and scrub all surfaces for at least 20 seconds before rinsing under warm running water. It’s that simple!

To learn more about hand-washing, visit the Get Ready hand-washing page. Download and print the fact sheets and share them with those you care about!

Credit: Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meningitis and college students: A risk you can’t overlook

With everything that new college students have to think about getting — a computer, books, backpack, etc. — vaccinations are not always at the top of the to-do list. But there’s one thing that’s especially important for college students to get: the meningitis vaccine.
While meningitis vaccination is not a requirement for college students entering school in most states, the risks associated with the disease are high enough that all students should consider getting the shot.

Let’s start with the basics: Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. It’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria. Viral meningitis is usually not so bad and clears up on its own in a week or so. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be a doozy, causing brain damage, deafness or even death. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck and will often also cause nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, rash and confusion.

If you have meningitis, you can pass it on to others through close contact, like kissing, but also through things like coughing or sneezing. That’s why college students, who often live together in close quarters such as dorms or shared apartments, are especially at risk. Each year, there are more than 1,000 U.S. cases of meningococcal disease, a type of bacterial meningitis. Cases that occur on college campuses are common.

The good news is that you can get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the meningococcal vaccine for all 11- to 18-year-olds as well as for all first-year college students and military recruits. If you haven’t received your shot, you can get it from your doctor, health care provider or school health clinic.

Check out the facts about meningitis, along with a video on how to prevent it, on CDC’s website.

Photo by Chris Schmidt, courtesy iStockphoto

Friday, February 04, 2011

Let’s make it personal: Add your logo to Get Ready materials

Free fact sheets and materials are a great thing, particularly when they come from a trusted source like APHA’s Get Ready campaign. Health departments, health workers groups and anyone else can download Get Ready materials and use them at health fairs, community meetings, school events — just about anywhere!

And while it’s nice having the APHA and Get Ready logos on all those preparedness materials, wouldn’t it be great if your logo were on there too? Luckily, the Get Ready campaign makes it easy — and free — for you to add your organization’s logo to its fact sheets, games and other materials. And you don’t even need permission! Just visit our “Add Your Logo” Web page and follow the super-easy step-by-step instructions.

No special software on your computer? Not a problem! The Add Your Logo page has instructions for using either Word or Acrobat to customize your Get Ready docs. Just save ‘em, print ‘em and you are ready go. (While you are at it, why not save them and post them on your website too?)

About two dozen Get Ready materials are customizable with your group’s logo, including our new hand-washing fact sheets; information on winter weather, floods, earthquakes and heat waves; and stockpiling resources. You can even add your logo to materials for kids. And if that wasn’t enough, logos can be added to more than a dozen Spanish-language materials too. ¡Que bueno!

We’d love to hear how you use our Get Ready materials, so once you’ve added your logos and shared them with your community, drop us a line. (