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Extreme Heat Requires Protective Actions

With the daytime heat index expected to reach or exceed (100) degrees over the next couple of days, it becomes even more important that people follow recommendations to protect themselves from the extreme heat. 

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, in 2013 there were 5 heat-related deaths in Virginia, a relatively light year; in 2012 there were 21.  

One of the most important precautions people should take is to schedule or reschedule activities and outdoor work during the coolest parts of the day.  In the summer, sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Here are additional steps you can take to protect yourself against heat-related illnesses:

  • Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
  • Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a high SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool. 
  • Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
  • Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, make sure someone else knows of you plans. 

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at www.vdh.virginia.gov.


Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water

Swimming pools across the nation open their doors to eager swimmers this coming weekend. Many recreational water-related injuries are preventable. To help ensure a safe, healthy, and enjoyable swimming experience for everyone, take an active role in protecting yourself and preventing the spread of germs.  Additional healthy swimming information and resources can be found at:


Protect You and Your Family from Food borne Illness

Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year. Many people don’t realize that produce can also be the culprit in outbreaks of food borne illness.

FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home.

In addition, follow these recommendations:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
  • Store perishable produce in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

From the US HHS website


The Prince William Health District is no stranger to weather-related emergencies. Floods, hurricanes, an earthquake, tornados, extreme heat and winter weather have all impacted our area in recent years. Due to the current weather, we would like to remind you of the following information:

Floods:

National Weather ServiceDid you know that floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster? Flooding can develop slowly during an extended period of rain. Flooding can also occur quickly, such as flash floods, even without any visible signs of rain.  Be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

Key Facts about Flooding:

  • Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Analyze your policy and determine if you need additional coverage.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard.
    • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: there is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • Flood Warning: flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Flash Flood Warning: flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately; do not wait for further instructions.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. Do not return to your home until authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Drinking water may be contaminated. Listen for information from local authorities before using tap water for drinking or personal hygiene. See the Health and Safety Following an Emergency section below for additional information.
  • Never eat food that has come in contact with flood water. Remember – “When it doubt, throw it out.”
  • Never play in floodwater. In addition to the possibility of drowning, flood waters may contain raw sewage, chemicals and other toxins that are dangerous to your health.
  • Do not walk through moving water, if possible. What may seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
  • Never drive through flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Remember – “Turn around, don’t drown.”
  • Flood water might cut off access to roads. Make sure your Disaster Supply Kit is fully stocked.

For additional information, please visit:
Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Buy Fresh, Buy Local

Farmer's Markets in the Prince William Health District area

Day

Market

Time

Operation

Address

City

Website

Tuesday

Manassas Park Smart Market

3:30pm-6:30 pm

Spring 2014

99 Adams Street

Manassas Park

www.smartmarkets.org

Tuesday

Manassas Farmer’s Market*

5:00pm-8:00pm

June-Aug

Harris Pavilion

Manassas

www.historicmanassas.org

Thursday

Manassas Farmer’s Market*

7:30am-1:00pm

4-10-2014

Harris Pavilion

Manassas

www.visitmanassas.org

Friday

Wood bridge Smart Market

3:00pm-7:00pm

Spring 2014

2228 Tackett’s Mill Drive

Woodbridge

www.smartmarkets.org

Saturday

Haymarket Farmer’s Market

8:00am-2:00pm

May- Oct

15025 Washington Street

Haymarket

www.townofhaymarket.org

Saturday

Manassas Farmer’s Market*

7:30am-1:00pm

Year Round

Train Station Parking lot

Manassas

www.visitmanassas.org

Saturday

Occoquan Farmers Market

8:00am-12:00pm

April 26-Oct 25

Miller Street Parking lot

Occoquan

www.occoquanfarmersmarket.com

Sunday

Bristow Smart Market

10:30pm-1:30pm

Year Round

8301 Linton Hall Boulevard

Bristow

www.smartmarkets.org

Sunday

Dale City Farmers Market

8am-1:00pm
(4-7-12-8)
10am-1:00pm
(12-15-3-31)

Year Round

14090 Gemini Way

Dale City

 


Tap Water

Tap Water is Best

More than 144 million United States residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated tap water, providing an automatic defense against the harmful ingredients that cause such a preventable oral health disease.

"Instead of drilling holes to fix cavities, dentists would rather educate the public on how to avoid developing tooth decay in the first place," said Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the AGD. "Drinking tap water to receive fluoride is safe, and it's easier on your wallet than going to the dentist for a filling."

The second-most effective source of fluoride is varnish. Varnish, applied quickly and easily by a dentist, is one of the most concentrated products available commercially. Varnishes that contain sodium fluoride adhere to tooth surfaces when saliva is present, providing an excellent fluoride treatment.

Keeping fluoride in the mouth enhances its ability to arrest demineralization and promote remineralization, and varnishes are better for this purpose than fluoridated drinking water or toothpaste. Fluoride varnishes are typically used for patients who don't receive enough fluoride from other sources.


Before and After the  Snow Storm – Private Wells and Onsite Sewage Systems Safety is similar to after a Hurricane. For information please visit: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/EnvironmentalHealth/Onsite/hurricane.htm


In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Just remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”

People can practice safe food handling and prevent food-borne illness by following simple steps:

  • Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41 F or below.
  • A full cooler or freezer will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature. If available, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. Use care when handling dry ice and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
  • Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.”
  • Eggs and other foods need to be stored in 41 F or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.

·   Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected. Wash your hands:

  •  After using the bathroom or changing a diaper
  • After handling handle uncooked food
  • After playing with a pet
  • After handling garbage
  • After tending to someone who is sick or injured
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After participating in flood cleanup activities
  • After handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage 
  • Before preparing or eating food
  • Before treating a cut or wound
  • Before inserting or removing contact lenses

For additional food safety information, call the toll-free USDA/FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854. Food safety specialists (both English and Spanish speaking) are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays year-round.

For more information about how to protect yourself and your family before, during and after natural disasters, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Web site at www.vaemergency.com.


Nueva Vida Support

Indoor Radon

Indoor Radon
Exposure to indoor radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer - and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Exposure to radon may cause as many as 700 cases of lung cancer each year in Virginia. According to the EPA, Virginia has 46 counties and 15 cities that are classified as Zone 1 (high risk), and 24 counties and 8 cities classified as Zone 2 (moderate risk). A map of the Virginia’s Radon Zones can be found here.  But remember, this map should only be used only as guidance; it should never be used to predict radon levels or be a substitute for an actual radon test. Testing is the only way to know for sure if an indoor radon problem exists. Indoor radon usually reaches its maximum concentration during the coldest winter months. The lowest livable level of the structure should always be tested because that is where the highest radon levels in the structure are typically found. Test kits may be obtained from many commercial vendors or VDH’s Office of Radiological Health (ORH) can provide a coupon to obtain radon test kits at roughly half the normal retail price. More information on radon, radon mitigation and the Radon Test Kit coupon can be found on ORH’s Radon webpage at www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/radiologicalhealth/radon/index.htm

Send For Your Radon Detection Kit Today


REMINDERS FOR RABIES PREVENTION

After determining that a cat found in Woodbridge was infected with rabies, the Prince William Health District would like to remind everyone to avoid contact with bats, feral cats, stray dogs, and other wild animals. Pet owners should also ensure that their dogs, cats, and/or ferrets are appropriately vaccinated against rabies.  For additional information about rabies, visit the VDH website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ or visit the CDC Rabies page at:http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/

If you encounter an animal that is behaving strangely, contact your local Animal Control Division.

A complete media release can be found at:http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/PressReleases/2013/regional.htm

Cat bites account for only approximately 15% of all animal bites, but they carry health risks beyond rabies. Cat's teeth generally cause  deeper puncture wounds than dog's teeth, and can put harmful bacteria into the wound that can cause serious infections, potentially requiring hospitalization for antibiotic therapy.   


Fitness for less: Low-cost ways to shape up

Want to work out but think you can't afford it? Think again. Consider these low-cost alternatives to a pricey gym membership.
By Mayo Clinic staff

If the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness program is the cost of a gym membership, here's good news. You don't need to join a gym to take physical activity seriously. Plenty of low-cost alternatives can help you get fit without breaking your budget. These tips can help you get started.
Take advantage of everyday opportunities

You don't need a gym or special equipment for an aerobic workout. With a little foresight, activities you may take for granted can become part of your fitness routine.

Step it up. Take a brisk walk every day, whether it's in your neighborhood or a local mall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or make a full workout of climbing the stairs. Sneak in extra steps whenever you can by parking farther away from your destination.

Make housework a workout. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, rake the leaves or shovel the snow. Even indoor activities such as vacuuming and scrubbing count as a workout if you increase your heart rate.

Play with your kids. If you have children, don't just watch them play. Join them for a game of tag or kickball. Walk them to the park. Dance. Take a family bike ride. Go to a community pool. Even if you don't swim, you can enjoy time in the water or walk in the shallow end. Do your kids play video games? If so, plug in with them and swing a virtual tennis racket or do a little boxing.

Improvise with household items

If you'd rather not spend a penny on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body exercises:
Canned goods. Many canned goods can serve double duty as hand weights.

Chair or step stool. Use a chair for support when doing exercises such as leg curls. A low, sturdy step stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for step training — an aerobic exercise resembling stair climbing.

Consider a modest investment
If you're able to spend a little, you can find inexpensive products to add variety to your fitness routine:

Dumbbells. Use these small, hand-held weights to strengthen your upper body. They're available in many sizes.

Exercise DVDs and apps. Create the feel of a health club aerobics class in your own living room — or choose a program that'll help you improve your strength and flexibility.

Fitness ball. A fitness ball looks like a large beach ball. You can do many core exercises, including abdominal crunches, with a fitness ball. You can also use a fitness ball to improve your flexibility and balance.

Jump-ropes. Skipping rope can be a great cardiovascular workout.

Resistance tubing. These stretchy tubes offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them. Use the tubes to build strength in your arms and other muscles. Choose from varying degrees of resistance, depending on your fitness level.

Be a savvy shopper
If you're interested in a specific exercise class or piece of equipment, shop around to find the best deal.

Check out your local recreation department. Many recreation departments offer discounted fitness classes to local residents. If you live near a high school or college with a fitness center, ask if the facility is available to community members.

Buy used equipment. Some sporting goods stores specialize in used equipment — or you can check out listings for exercise equipment in the local newspaper. You may also find great deals on used exercise equipment online. Just make sure the cost of shipping won't put the item out of your budget.

Share costs with a friend. Trade exercise videos or DVDs with a friend so that neither of you gets bored doing the same workout over and over again. Find a personal trainer who'll let you share the cost of a session with a friend or two.

Remember, getting in shape doesn't need to be expensive. Don't get caught up in memberships or purchases you can't afford. Instead, concentrate on your fitness goals — and how to achieve them without breaking your budget.


"Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill ... if one keeps on walking everything will be alright."
- Soren Kierkegaard
Get up, get out and go for a walk!


Infectious diseases remain one of the greatest threats to public health in the United States and across the world. Despite key advances in medicine and science, infectious diseases still rank among the greatest causes for illness, disability, and death. The burden of infectious diseases is both a national and global challenge to population health.

A quote from the committee that developed the Healthy People 2020 measures. This demonstrates how important Prince William Health District’s communicable disease and immunization program is to protect the health of the community.


Bottled Water and Tooth Decay

Drinking water with fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. If you only drink bottled water, you may not be getting an adequate amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

  • Fluorinating public water began in the 1940s, and is one of the most effective public health oral health preventive measures that helped to improve oral health. 
  • An increase in drinking of bottled water without fluoride among children and adolescents may contribute to the decline in adolescent oral health.
  • Some bottled waters have fluoride, which can help to reduce tooth decay along with adequate brushing, improved diets, and less sugary drinks.
  • Some water filters remove the fluoride from water. You can ask the water filter manufacturer for information regarding your particular filter.

Did You Know?

  • Flu shot may protect you against heart disease and stroke by preventing an inflamatory response as your body tries to fight the virus.
  • People who took statins to lower their cholesterol may have a lower risk of death when diagnosed cancer than those diagnosed with cancer and are not taking statins.
  • Women with diabetes on metformin for at least 3 years may have a lower risk of breast cancer perhaps due to their better glucose control.    

Behaviors to Improve Cardiovascular Health

  • No tobacco exposure
  • Healthy dietary practices: Increase fruits and vegetable intake, whole grain intake
  • Decrease saturated fat and trans fat intake
  • Decrease sugar intake: decrease sugar beverages
  • Physically active lifestyle
  • Adhere to health care recommendations
  • Increase risk factor screening: BP, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose

Information from the American Heart Association


Last Updated: 07-29-2014

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