Friday, October 27, 2017

How to have fun and avoid Halloween hazards

The spookiest time of the year is right around the corner! Do you know what’s even more frightening than ghosts and monsters? Being unprepared for infectious diseases and natural disasters.

Since Halloween falls during hurricane season and right in the middle of flu season, staying safe this holiday is important. With 41 million trick-or-treaters in the U.S., germs can run amok whether you’re traipsing from house to house in costume or staying in to hand out candy. And beware; since this hurricane season is becoming one of the most active in history, there are other scary dangers to keep an eye out for.

Fortunately, there are lots of tips and tricks to make this Halloween a safe and healthy treat for parents and kids — learning how to get ready this holiday is one of them. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Protect yourself from disease. Vaccinations will give you superhero powers and keep you safe from evil germs. You can find a place to get your flu shot online via HealthMap and fly over to the closest clinic with your cape or witches’ broom. For more about the seasonal flu, check out our factsheet.
  • Keep bugs at bay. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or upper sleeve, or with your elbow to keep your hands clean. And before eating any yummy treats or handing them out, make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Just think about all the candy, bowls and pumpkins you may be touching!
  • Get to know your neighbors. Not only is it good to learn which houses you or your kids are going to get candy from, it is also important to know where you can safely shelter in place. This means that when danger lurks you take immediate shelter, whether it’s in your home or a trusted neighbor’s instead. 

Although ghosts, goblins and ghouls can be spooky, there is nothing scarier than a disaster. That’s why it is important you follow these tips and get ready for Halloween. Don’t forget to have fun!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Test your emergency preparedness knowledge with Get Ready’s new quiz!

How much do you know about preparing for natural disasters? Take Get Ready’s new preparedness quiz to find out!

In the wake of recent natural disasters, APHA’s Get Ready campaign wants to make preparing for emergencies easier, more fun and engaging. With our new quiz, you can test your knowledge and challenge others! From hurricanes to earthquakes and wildfires, you are bound to learn something new. No matter your score, it’s always a good idea to check out our free factsheets for all the emergency preparedness information you could possibly need. Be informed about potential disasters in your area, how you will receive alerts and where you should go if you have to evacuate.

A natural disaster can happen at any time, so make sure you are prepared.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Get your flu shot and spread the word about vaccinations

It’s October, which means flu season is upon us! Everyone who’s 6 months and older should get a flu shot — including you. We know that needles can be scary, but they’re a whole lot less scary than a bad case of the flu.

Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that fewer than half of all Americans got a flu shot last season. That’s not enough! Except in rare cases, everyone should get vaccinated. If 70 percent of the population does, that’ll help protect us all from getting really sick. Last season, only children under age 2 hit that target. Come on, parents — if your toddler can handle it, you can too. 

CDC also said that some racial or ethnic groups got vaccinated more than others. This might happen because some people aren’t used to getting a shot each year.

It’s too soon to say what this year’s flu season will be like in the U.S. But if cases that occurred in Australia this year are any indication — and they often are, as flu hits the southern hemisphere sooner — we could have a lot of people sick with flu this year. 

Luckily, there are many ways we can work to increase the number of people getting vaccinated. We can make shots available at more workplaces and schools and make shots cheaper. We should also reach out to groups of people who are less likely to get vaccinated. 

And you can personally promote flu shots. Here are five things you can do to help spread the word about the importance of flu vaccinations:

1. Get vaccinated! Reduce the chance that you’ll get sick and spread the disease.

2. Make sure your family members get flu shots. Your mom would love to hear from you — call her up and tell her to get vaccinated.

3. Tell your friends you got vaccinated, and encourage them to get a shot too.

4. Post about your flu shot on social media. Use the #GetYourFluShot and #FightFlu hashtags and share our flu fighter graphic.

5. Know the facts about flu shots. Dispel myths that the flu shot can give you the flu. 

Get more facts about the flu with Get Ready’s flu fact sheet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

What can you do to prepare for extreme weather?

Hurricane Harvey response. Photo by Gus Holzer, courtesy
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria have destroyed homes, cost lives and hurt many people. Experts are trying to figure out what’s causing these extreme weather events.

In a new podcast episode, APHA’s newspaper, reporter Julia Haskins talks to experts about the role of climate change and how you can be ready for extreme weather events.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global surface temperatures reached an all-time high in 2016. With rising temperatures, we’re at greater risk for all kinds of disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, droughts, extreme cold events and heat waves.

And such disasters are getting worse and occurring more often.

“We’re seeing an increase in the intensity of events and frequency of these events,” says David Kitchen, PhD, associate professor of continuing studies at the University of Richmond, in the podcast.

The new podcast is a tie-in to APHA’s Year of Climate Change and Health, which is sharing info on extreme weather this month.

Listen to the podcast now or read the transcript.

And for even more great info on climate change and health, check out APHA’s climate change resources.