Before you take off for a getaway, business trip, or family visit, there are some things you should know about Zika. Use these tips to plan ahead:
Before your trip:
- If you are pregnant, do not travel to an area with Zika. If you or your partner are trying to get pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before traveling to an area with Zika.
- Check the latest travel recommendations from the CDC
During your trip:
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites
- Keep mosquitoes outside by staying in places with air-conditioning and windows and doors, or use a bed net
After your trip:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State and Local Health Departments, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating an increase in reported cases of cyclosporiasis. The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities and to provide guidance to healthcare providers of the increase in reported cases. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms, to primary care providers, and to microbiology laboratories.
Healthcare providers should consider a diagnosis of cyclosporiasis in patients with prolonged or remitting-relapsing diarrheal illness. Testing for Cyclospora is not routinely done in most U.S. laboratories, even when stool is tested for parasites. Healthcare providers must specifically order testing for Cyclospora, whether testing is requested by ova and parasite (O&P) examination, by molecular methods, or by a gastrointestinal pathogen panel test. Cyclosporiasis is a nationally notifiable disease; healthcare providers should report suspect and confirmed cases of infection to public health authorities.
Eculizumab (Soliris®) recipients have a 1,000 to 2,000-fold greater risk of invasive meningococcal disease compared to the general U.S. population. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescribing information for eculizumab includes a black box warning for increased risk of meningococcal disease, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends meningococcal vaccination for all patients receiving eculizumab. Recent data show that some patients receiving eculizumab who were vaccinated with the recommended meningococcal vaccines still developed meningococcal disease, most often from nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis, which rarely causes invasive disease in healthy individuals. Learn more
In Virginia, the leading causes of death for men are cancer and heart disease. Virginians can take action by encouraging men and boys to make health a priority.
Men can become healthier by making healthy choices daily. Some steps to becoming healthier include:
- Going to annual doctor’s appointments and screenings.
- Quitting all tobacco use.
- Wearing sunscreen when outdoors.
- Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Exercising at least 30 minutes every day.
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables .
These are just a few of the things that men and boys can do to stay healthy. During this men’s health month encourage the men in your life to make a promise to eat healthy, be active and go to regular checkups and screenings.
Babies get less sleep at night and sleep for shorter stretches when they sleep in their parents’ room after 4 months old, a new study finds. Parents are also more likely to engage in unsafe sleep practices, such as bringing their child into their bed or leaving pillows, blankets or stuffed animals with the baby when the infant shares their room. Learn more
Poison ivy and other poisonous plants are a hazard all year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has some tips for preventing and treating the itchy rash and blisters.
EMS Week in Virginia, May 21-27, honors EMS responders’ commitment to providing lifesaving services. EMS for Children Day, May 24, focuses on raising awareness of specialized care for pediatric patients. Last year, EMS providers responded to nearly 1.5 million calls for help in Virginia, approximately 4,063 incidents per day.
Many EMS agencies across the state will host community activities, including first aid classes, health and safety fairs, open houses, fundraising dinners and more. These family-friendly events welcome everyone to come out and get to know the first responders in their neighborhoods.
To learn more about the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of EMS, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medical-services/.
This time of year marks the unofficial start of summer with the opening of pools and water parks. As water temperatures rise, so do visits to Virginia’s beaches, lakes and rivers. Healthy and Safe Swimming Week focuses on the steps everyone can take to have a healthy and safe swimming experience.
In the pool:
- Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
- Practice proper personal hygiene.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Every hour take kids on bathroom breaks. Change diapers in the restroom, not poolside, to keep germs away from the pool.
- Read and follow directions on pool chemical product labels.
- Wear appropriate safety equipment (goggles, for example) when handling pool chemicals.
- Secure pool chemicals to protect people, particularly children and animals, from accidental exposure.
- NEVER add pool chemicals when the pool is in use, and only add them poolside when directed by the product label.
In natural waters:
- Look for beach advisory signs along public access points or along the beach. Many public beaches in Virginia are monitored for bacteria levels. An advisory is posted if these levels are too high. If the beach is under advisory, stay out of the water.
- All natural bodies of water contain bacteria, including salt water. Salty water will not disinfect wounds. If you have broken skin, stay out of the water.
- Avoid swimming in natural waters for at least three days after heavy rain.
- Don’t swim when you are sick. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Avoid getting water up your nose. Use a nose clip or plug your nose before going under the water.
- If you become sick after being in the water, report your water activities to your doctor.
- Shower with soap and water before and after swimming.
- Keep children and pets from swimming in scummy water. If you see mats of algae or discolored green, red, or brown water, an algae bloom may be present.
- Report harmful algal blooms or large groups of dead fish to the HAB Hotline at:
It is also important to remember that drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for children ages 1-4 years. To keep swimmers safe in the water:
- Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
- Use life jackets.
- Provide continuous attentive supervision near swimmers.
- Know CPR. Find a class near you.
- Use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
- Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers.
- Use locks or alarms for pool access points.
To learn more about staying safe in pools and natural waters, visit swimhealthyva.com.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication warning about the use of Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers (LeadCare, LeadCare II, LeadCare Ultra and LeadCare Plus) with venous blood samples because they might result in falsely low test results. Learn more
Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare, but often serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected ticks. Approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States over the past 10 years. POW virus is one of a group of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Learn more