Avoid This Novel Treat

Warning: Avoid these novel treats in shopping malls and restaurants

News briefs


Image: © manustart/Getty Images

If your grandkids urge you to indulge them in a popular new snack at the mall, just say no. The FDA is warning that consuming products with liquid nitrogen added at the last minute can lead to injury. The products are marketed under names such as “Dragon’s Breath” and “Nitro Puff.” They’re cheese puffs or cereal pieces that are frozen in liquid nitrogen and then dipped in a special sauce. When you put them in your mouth, the products release vapor that looks like smoke. Liquid nitrogen is also added to some cocktails to make them look like they’re emitting fog. But the FDA says all of these products can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs and may cause breathing problems. The agency advises you to avoid the products.

West Nile Virus

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has elevated the West Nile virus risk level to moderate statewide. This wide-scale increase was driven by expanding and intensifying positive mosquito findings.

 

For additional information on how to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illness, please visit.

 

http://www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito

 

Avoid Mosquito Bites:

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

 

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

 

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

 

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

 

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

 

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Emergency Survival Kit

What Do You Need In A Survival Kit?
Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:

1. Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

2. Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

3. Flashlight [Available on the Red Cross Store]

4. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) [Available on the Red Cross Store]

5. Extra batteries

6. First aid kit [Available on the Red Cross Store]

7. Medications (7-day supply) and medical items

8. Multi-purpose tool

9. Sanitation and personal hygiene items

10. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

11. Cell phone with chargers

12. Family and emergency contact information

13. Extra cash

14. Emergency blanket [Available on the Red Cross Store]

15. Map(s) of the area

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Be Red Cross Ready

HPV Vaccine

Imagine if you could protect your child against cancer. Turns out, you can – with the HPV vaccine.  To highlight this, the American Cancer Society recently released a video series of HPV-related cancer survivors sharing their stories. These individuals serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of the HPV vaccine and underscore the need for all parents to talk to their children’s doctors to learn more.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus spread by close skin-to-skin contact. It is so common that nearly all sexually active adults have had at least one type of HPV at some point in their lifetime.  Around 80 million people in the US currently have HPV and 14 million people are newly infected each year. While most cases of HPV clear on their own, some can cause cancer.

A recent report showed that the current number of cancers caused by HPV is rising with an estimated 30,700 each year. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV in women, while in men; it most commonly leads to a type of head and neck cancer. Overall, HPV is thought to cause more than 90% of anal and cervical cancers, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and more than 60% of penile cancers.

The HPV vaccine offers the best protection against these cancers when given at the recommended age – which is 2 doses if the patient starts the vaccine series before their 15th birthday and 3 doses if they start on or after their 15th birthday. Younger adolescents have a higher immune response so it’s best to vaccinate early. Young women can get the HPV vaccine through age 26 and young men can receive it through age 21 (age 26 in some cases).

Barnstable County Emergency Shelter System

 

Regional Shelter System

If you can’t leave the area and staying at home is not an option, then you can turn to the regional shelter system. Visit this map for an overview of the shelter system and the location of a shelter near you.

Important things to know about regional shelters

  1. You should look at going to a shelter the same way you would look at going on a trip. If you were planning to go away for a few days you would pack for the trip. The same goes for the shelter. You should arrive with at least three days worth of essentials. You wouldn’t leave your medications at home if you went on a trip, nor should you leave them behind when you go to a shelter.
  2. The stay at a shelter is not a vacation, and a shelter is not a hotel or a pharmacy. It is not a cruise ship but rather a lifeboat. The shelter provides a secure facility, a cot to sleep on, food and water, basic first aid, and functional assistance. Beyond that, it is up to you to pack and bring the essentials of your life including extra clothing, medications, and any medical equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen concentrators.
  3. If you live at home with the assistance of a caretaker, the caretaker must come to the shelter with you. If you have a visiting nurse, make sure you bring your medical supplies and let your nurse know which shelter you will be staying at.
  4. If you are bringing infants, babies, or toddlers to a shelter make sure you bring formula, food, diapers, wipes, changes of clothing, toys, and a “pack ‘n play” or portable crib and bedding.
  5. If you have a pet—a dog or cat, a bird perhaps—the Cape Cod Disaster Animal Response Team (CCDART) component of the shelter system supports the care of your pet(s) while you are in the shelter. Remember, you must check your pet(s) in first with CCDART before checking yourself into the human shelter. Please bring all your pet supplies to the shelter except for crates, which are provided by CCDART. You cannot sleep with your pet(s). Once your pet(s) are in the CCDART shelter, you will be able to see them during visiting hours, typically between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  6. The reason every town on the Cape doesn’t have its own shelter is because of the expense and lack of volunteer resources to staff 15 separate shelters across the Cape. Volunteers deliver the vast majority of services provided at the six regional shelters. These volunteers work with groups including the American Red Cross (ARC), the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps (CCMRC), the Cape Cod Disaster Animal Response Team (CCDART), Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and AmeriCorps.

Zika Update

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Zika virus continues to be a concern.  There is now a strong suspicion that Zika can be spread through semen.  CDC has received reports of sexual transmission of Zika virus among women whose only risk factor was sexual contact with a male partner with recent travel to Zika areas.  The CDC recommends that pregnant women refrain from traveling to Zika areas and couples planning on becoming pregnant should speak with their health care providers before traveling to countries where Zika virus has been identified.  If travel to these countries is necessary, then precautions to prevent mosquito bites should be implemented.

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/zika-pregnancytravel.pdf                                     http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_travelers.pdf 

What are the implications for public health practice?  (CDC recommendations)

Men who reside in or have traveled to an area of ongoing Zika virus transmission who have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex (i.e., vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or fellatio) with their pregnant partner for the duration of the pregnancy.

 

ZIKA VIRUS

Zika is a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito which also spreads dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.  Only 25% of people with Zika virus develop symptoms.  Within 2-7 days after an infected mosquito bites, the following symptoms may develop:  rash, slight fever, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue.  These symptoms can last a week.  While in the past couple of years this virus was thought to be benign, some severe, rare complications have been documented.  In Brazil there have been 4000 cases of babies born with microcephaly, a condition where the baby has a small head and incomplete brain development.  It is thought that the mothers had the virus while pregnant.  Another condition, noted in 2014, is Guillian-Barre syndrome where the immune system attacks nerve cells leading to muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.  There is presently no vaccine or cure for the virus and over the counter pain relievers ( no aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) and fluids are the recommended treatment.  The N.I.H is working on a vaccine.                                                                                    CDC added the following destinations to the Zika virus travel alerts: United States Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic. Previously, CDC issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Barbados; Bolivia; Brazil; Cape Verde; Colombia; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Martinique; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Saint Martin; Samoa; Suriname; and Venezuela.

Currently, cases of Zika in the United States are from travelers returning from countries where Zika virus has been identified.  The CDC recommends that pregnant women refrain from traveling to countries with Zika virus and that all residents take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.  http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_us.pdf   http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_travelers.pdf

Here is the 1/28/2016 CDC telebriefing:  http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/t0128-zika-virus-101.html

Tick Season is Here Again-With More Diseases Than Ever!

Most people on the Cape are familiar with Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis/Erlichiosis, and Babesiosis, but have you heard of Borrelia miyamotoi or Powassan virus?  The now well known black legged deer ticks can also carry these diseases.

Scapularis, Ixodes, Insect, Tick, Deer

In general, adult ticks are approximately the size of a sesame seed and nymphal ticks are approximately the size of a poppy seed.
Borrelia miyamotoi is a spiral shaped bacterium carried by deer ticks (which are active any time temperatures are above freezing).  Nymphs are most active from May to July and adults are more active in the fall and spring. Ticks carrying miyamotoi have been found in Sandwich.  Symptoms of a miyamotoi infection are fever, headache, and muscle aches.  Treatment is 2 weeks on the antibiotic doxycycline, which is also used to treat Lyme disease.http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1215469

Powassan virus has been identified in patients in Massachusetts.  While it is generally accepted that a tick must be attached to a person for at least 24 hours to spread  infection, this virus seems to infect people in a shorter period of time.  Symptoms can occur from 1 week to 1 month after a tick bite.  As with other tick borne diseases, some people never become ill while others can have illness such as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, difficulty speaking and seizures.  Treatment is supportive.  http://www.cdc.gov/powassan/

How can you protect yourself?  Ticks live in wooded, brush filled, and grassy areas, so if you are in these areas here are some things you can do:

1.  Put deet on skin exposed areas (not on face or palms of hands).  The University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter website warns:

Repellents play an integral part in your personal protection strategy. Repellents containing DEET are not sufficient to protect against tick bites. DEET only repels ticks to areas where they could bite and even that little protection does not last long. PERMETHRIN kills ticks on contact. Clothing only repellents that contain Permethrin are very effective and provide long-lasting protection. The best protection you can achieve is by using a repellent that contains Permethrin on your clothes and one that contains DEET for your skin.

2.  Spray permethrin on clothes and boots/shoes

Watch videos about applying clothing-only repellent and how well Permethrin treated clothing repels and kills ticks.

3. Wear light colored long pants and long sleeves, tuck pants into socks or boots.

4.  Do a body check when you go indoors

5.  Treat pets with tick repellants

6.  Have a 3 foot tick free perimeter around your yard   http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/id/epidemiology/ticks/, http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/protect_your_yard

If you do find a tick on yourself, use tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull straight up.  After removal clean the skin with alcohol and put an antibiotic cream on the area.

clipart style image showing the proper removal of a tick using a pair of tweezers

Helpful Hint

icon of a tickAvoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–do not wait for it to detach.

Go on tickreport.com if you want to send your tick to U. Mass. for testing