Thursday, January 31, 2019

Preparing for a cardiac emergency

Infograpic courtesy American Heart Association
February's around the corner! Every time February comes around, people are reminded of all things love. But it’s more than just candy hearts. You can focus on heart health, too.

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Almost 1 in 4 Americans die every year of heart disease.

Nobody wants heart disease. But it’s something we all need to prepare for if a heart emergency strikes.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to many conditions. It happens when fatty plaque clogs your blood vessels.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by not smoking, eating healthy food, exercising and watching your weight.

Fatty plaque makes it hard for blood to flow. It can also lead to a blood clot.

A heart attack happens when a clot cuts off the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart. Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Cardiac arrest is when your heart stops beating.

The American Heart Association says early signs of a heart attack include chest and upper body pains. Some people also get shortness of breath. Men and women can have different symptoms.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen without warning. Symptoms are sudden collapse, no pulse and no breathing.

Know the signs for both. Call 911 if you or someone near you is having a heart attack. The person having the heart attack should chew an aspirin. If that person is unconscious, a 911 operator might tell you to start CPR.

You can get CPR training at a location near you.

In case of cardiac arrest, call 911. Grab an automated external defibrillator, if available, and use it! But don’t use an AED on someone who is conscious. Do CPR until an ambulance arrives. Doing CPR to the beat of ‘70s hit song “Stayin’ Alive” more than doubles a person’s chance of survival.

Heart attacks are life-changing. Make sure you’re prepared to save a life.

Have a happy, heart healthy February!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Make sure you're prepared for an emergency like the shutdown

By Mark Iandolo, Courtesy Capital Area Food Bank 
Losing a job or missing a paycheck can be scary. Unfortunately, a lot of workers around the country have been finding out what that’s like lately.

More than 800,000 federal workers aren’t getting paid during a partial shutdown of the federal government that began Dec. 22. That’s created a lot of worry for them and their families.

Two-thirds of these workers say they don’t have enough savings to cover a month without their salaries. They aren’t alone. Living paycheck to paycheck is common for many Americans.

Demand is up at food banks, which are working to help federal workers and contractors. Some organizations are offering supplies for pet owners as well.

Sadly, losing a paycheck and struggling to make ends meet can happen to anyone. It’s one of those things no one wants, but can try to prepare for when times are good.

When you’re getting a regular paycheck again, take time to stock up on food and emergency supplies. Get Ready has a grocery list and an emergency stockpiling list you can follow. Keeping your kitchen cabinets safely stocked means storing at least a three-day supply of food and water. And don’t forget supplies for your furry and feathered friends. You can use these lists to prepare for a paycheck disaster or any other emergency.

While all this shopping can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be done all at once. And there are lots of ways to stockpile on a budget, as our Get Ready fact sheet shows.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who is getting paid right now, you can help out by donating to your local food bank. If you have time to hold a food drive, our Get Ready toolkit will help you plan, promote and successfully complete it. Even if those food donations don’t go to federal workers, they will help out others and your community will be more prepared for emergencies of all kinds.

APHA is calling on Congress to protect public health and end the shutdown. Send a message to your legislators and urge them to work with colleagues to end the impasse. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

New year means new opportunities to avoid the flu

Did you resolve to be healthier this year? You’re not alone.

Every time a new year rolls around, people pledge to do things like giving up unhealthy food or screen time on the couch. That can be easier said than done, especially with all those great shows in your Netflix queue.

But there’s one thing that you can easily put behind you in the new year: The flu.

Infographic courtesy CDC
This year’s flu season is well underway. There’s high flu activity across the U.S., says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Jan. 17, flu was widespread in Guam and 30 states. In fact, as many as 7 million people have been sick with flu already this season. And up to 84,000 have been hospitalized from it.

Don’t let those numbers make you give up on your goals to be healthy this year. You can avoid getting sick by using CDC’s “Take 3” method.

First, get a flu shot every year. It protects you from multiple strains of the flu. Even if you got a shot last flu season, that doesn’t mean you’re protected now. Remember: New flu season, new flu shot.

The best time to get your shot is before the flu season begins. It takes about two weeks after your shot for flu antibodies to kick in. But if you haven’t gotten yours, it’s not too late. You can still protect yourself and others this flu season by getting your vax.

Don’t like needles? You’re in luck! CDC says you can use nasal spray this season, as long as you’re not pregnant and between ages 2 and 49.

Second, wash your hands well and often.

The flu is a virus and spreads easily. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough to prevent spreading the flu. Also, try not to touch your mouth, nose and face to avoid getting sick.

Third, if you catch the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. If so, take them, especially if you are high risk for getting really sick from flu. These drugs can make you feel better faster.

Need more tips about the flu and how to prevent spreading it? Check out our flu fact sheet and CDC’s flu season FAQs.

Here’s to a happy, healthy flu-free year!