Thursday, April 25, 2019

World Immunization Week: 5 reasons why vaccines work

It’s World Immunization Week! Observed around the globe from April 24-30, the week is the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves and our communities about the importance of vaccines. This year’s theme is “Protected Together: Vaccines Work!”

The theme is a timely reminder that vaccines protect us against very serious and sometimes deadly diseases. In some cases, vaccines have ended disease threats that caused terrible illnesses. Take smallpox, for example: It once ended millions of lives. But thanks to vaccines, smallpox is history

But there are still dangers out there. Diseases like measles and whooping cough can spread really fast and cause serious harm. The good news is you can prevent them and many other diseases by getting vaccinated.

Educating yourself about vaccines and getting your shots will protect you and your loved ones. You’ll also help the health of your community.

Here are five reasons why vaccines work. Share these with your friends and family:

  • Vaccines are safe: Vaccines are studied and constantly monitored by scientists to make sure they’re safe. 
  • Vaccines protect: If enough healthy people are vaccinated, we can protect babies, seniors and sick people who can’t be vaccinated. 
  • Vaccines save money: Getting a vaccine is much less costly than being treated for a disease. 
  • Vaccines save lives: The diseases vaccines are made for can be deadly or really serious if not treated. 
  • Vaccines don’t cause autism: There’s no link between vaccines and autism. Science has disproven this again and again. 

Still have questions? Talk to your trusted health care providers. They’ll be able to share information with you and address any concerns.

Do your part to stop the spread of diseases. Celebrate World Immunization Week by reminding your family and friends that vaccines work and save lives. That way, we can all be protected together.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Floods can happen anywhere, anytime

April showers bring May flowers — and floods. From drizzling to pouring, plenty of rain has come our way this spring. In the case of the Midwest, that has led to devastating flooding.

Earth Day is April 22, which is a good reminder that climate change is bringing more extreme weather, including severe floods. Floods are scary and dangerous. This spring, floods have killed at least four people and destroyed 2,000 homes.

And rainy season isn’t over yet. Hundreds of millions of Americans are still at risk for above-average flooding through May. With that in mind, now is a great time to prepare for floods, which can happen anywhere and anytime.

Before a flood, you should:
  • Learn what evacuation plans your community has for floods. 
  • Check out shelter locations and emergency alert systems.  
  • Put together an emergency preparedness stockpile.
  • Get flood insurance, especially if you live in a high-risk area. 
During a flood, you should:

  • Turn off the electricity, gas and water when evacuating.
  • Never walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. 
  • Sanitize your sinks and bathtubs with bleach and fill them with water so you have a clean water source.

After a flood, you should:

  • Listen to authorities for instructions and information, such as whether it is safe to return to a flooded area. 
  • Wear gloves and wash your hands often when cleaning up.
  • Be alert for electrical equipment and other dangers in the water. 
  • Start an insurance claim and get help if you have damage.   

For more tips, check out our Get Ready flood fact sheet.

You can also act on climate year-round. Small, everyday changes can make a big difference! Join the conversation by using the hashtag #ClimateChangesHealth on social media.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Get your community on board with resilience

Photo by Patsy Lynch, courtesy FEMA
If a hurricane, tornado or spring snowstorm hit your area today, how well would your community be able to recover?

Being able to bounce back quickly and in a healthy way after something bad happens is known as resilience. It’s something U.S. communities are working toward, especially as weather disasters have gotten worse in recent years.

Communities are resilient when they prepare and plan for emergencies. A resilient community is also one that can recover and adapt after a disaster. That’s something we all want in our communities, right?

In March, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a new report that can help community leaders find out how well they’re doing at building resilience.

Most of the report is probably not of interest to the average community resident. But it has some really good takeaways for leaders, including:

  • Getting community residents involved in resilience is key. Community participation can help set goals and find leaders. (Who knew that neighbor of yours was secretly waiting to set up an emergency phone tree?)
  • Planners should take all parts of a community into account, including social, economic and natural structures. Are there areas of your community that are isolated, poorer or where people are less connected? What would happen to people there during a disaster?
  • Communities should collect data that can help them make decisions about resiliency. That way they can make decisions at budget planning time and share successes with residents.

If your community has a preparedness office or official, you may want to drop them a line and make sure they’ve seen the report. Tell them you want your community to be resilient and offer to help.

You can make yourself more resilient in case of an emergency too. For starters, learn what disasters your community is most at risk for. Our Get Ready fact sheets can also help you prepare. You can share them with friends, family and community leaders.

But don’t wait for a disaster to strike. Help yourself and your community become more resilient today!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Attention animal lovers! Announcing APHA’s 2019 Get Ready Photo Contest

APHA’s Get Ready Photo Contest is back and better than ever!

This year, our annual photo contest is all about animals. That means we want to see photos of all your furry, feathery and scaly friends. Photos of pets, zoo animals, farm animals, creatures in the wild or anywhere else are welcome. If the animal is doing something related to emergency preparedness, even better. If not, we still want to see it!

Photos from the annual contest will be shared in our 2020 preparedness calendar. Thanks to popular demand, we’ll be printing the calendar this year. That’s right — your photo could appear in a calendar that will be hung on thousands of walls, cubicles and
bulletin boards across the nation!

Just snap a picture of a critter you think is cute and submit it to APHA's 2019 Get Ready Photo
Contest. Our judges will choose the best and most adorable pictures to include in our calendar. If you’ve entered the contest before and haven’t won, you can resubmit your photos. And take new ones!

To get inspired, check out this year’s Get Ready Calendar or our memorable 2014 calendar.

Check out our rules and FAQs for full details.

Submissions are open now through May 15. Happy snapping!