Wellness Wednesday: Safety First, Last and Always

It’s June. And that means backyard barbecues, pool parties and kids home for the summer …which makes it the perfect time to talk about safety!

Warning SignJune is National Safety Month. That doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules of safety during the other 11 months of the year. It just means it’s time for us to focus on what it means to practice proper safety methods in everything we do, every day of the year.

During the summer, that means practicing sun and fun safety. Here are some summer safety tips:

Wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and seek shade. You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade or shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when in the shade.

Keep children and pets safe. Do not leave pets or children in hot cars or near a pool alone. It only takes 5-10 minutes for a car to reach dangerous levels! And do not leave your pets outside unsupervised or for long periods of time without shade. They have a much harder time regulating temperature than humans.

Don’t let safety take a vacation. Always remain aware of your surroundings while on vacation. Carry your purse or wallet close to your body or in a front pocket. Never share on social media that you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Let someone at home know where you will be at all times and how to reach you in case of emergency.

Be safe at the beach. Always swim near a lifeguard stand, and listen to what the lifeguards tell you. Never take your eyes off children and don’t assume the lifeguard or someone else is watching them. Beware of dangerous rip currents, which can occur in any open body of water. If caught in a rip current swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, then swim to shore.

Never, ever swim alone. Just don’t do it! Even if you’re an excellent swimmer, you can’t plan for every emergency. A child or an adult can drown in mere seconds.

Hear thunder? Get out of the water! If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Lightning kills an average of 49 people in the U.S. each year. And in the water is the most dangerous place to be in a storm. Wait at least a half hour after hearing the last rumble of thunder before entering the water again.

Young boy wearing flotation device holds onto edge of poolSecure your backyard pool. Tragically, over 300 children under the age of 5 drown in backyard swimming pools each year. And it is not always even their own pool. 33 percent of drowning incidents happened in a pool owned by friends, relatives or neighbors. So make sure you have the proper enclosure or fencing for your pool, even if you don’t have children. This isn’t just a suggestion. Pool safety barrier guidelines have been written into most residential building codes. Also, children can drown in as little as one inch of water so empty kiddie swimming pools when finished with them as well.

Leave the fireworks to the professionals. If you do use fireworks, keep a bucket of water handy and use them in a clear area away from buildings and trees. Make sure to obey your state’s laws regarding fireworks. Never let children use fireworks!

When picnicking, carry food in a cooler with cold packs. Keep your cold food cold. Food can spoil much quicker in warmer weather. Clean produce and keep any raw meats separately. Be sure to cook food thoroughly and never reuse utensils or serving plates that have been used to carry raw meats.

These are just some of the most important safety tips you should always remember to keep yourself and your family safe. And these apply not only during the summer months but all year round.

What are some other summer safety tips you’d recommend?

Sources: American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration

 

Wellness Wednesday: Indoor Tanning is Not a Safe Option

SolariumMany people believe that using a tanning bed, booth or sunlamp is safer than tanning outside in the sun. But the truth is that just like sun tanning, indoor tanning also exposes users to two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVA and UVB, which can lead to skin cancer.

UV rays can damage the actual DNA of skin cells, which is what is believed to lead to skin cancer. They also damage the skin, causing wrinkles, rashes and dark spots. And tanning is particularly dangerous for the young. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who begin tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This may be due to greater use of indoor tanning among those who begin tanning at earlier ages.

Every time you tan, whether indoors or at the beach, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma. Indoor tanning also—

  • Causes premature skin aging, like wrinkles and age spots.
  • Changes your skin texture.
  • Increases the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases, if eye protection is not used.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and unlike almost all other kinds of cancer, the rates are climbing. Today, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. That’s more than all other cancers combined. The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to UV rays, whether they come from the sun or from man-made sources such as indoor tanning beds.

Indoor Tanning Myths and Truths

A base tan is not a safe tan.

A Base Tan Is Not a Safe Tan Myth: A tan acts as the body’s natural protection against sunburn.

Truth: A tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays, showing that damage has been done. It does little to protect you from future UV exposure.

Tanned skin is not healthy skin.

Tanned Skin Is Not Healthy Skin Myth: Tanning gives people a “healthy glow.”

Truth: Whether tanning or burning, you are exposing yourself to harmful UV rays that damage your skin. In fact, every time you tan, you increase your risk of melanoma.

Controlled tanning is not safe tanning.

Controlled Tanning Is Not Safe TanningMyth: Indoor tanning is safe because you can control your level of exposure to UV rays.

Truth: Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of melanoma—the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.

Tanning Facts

  • skincancerUltraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation.
  • Eleven states plus the District of Columbia now prohibit indoor tanning for minors younger than age 18.
  • Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning altogether. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK have banned indoor tanning for people younger than age 18.
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas, and 6,200 melanomas.
  • More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
  • Individuals who have used tanning beds 10 or more times in their lives have a 34 percent increased risk of developing melanoma compared to those who have never used tanning beds.
  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

How to protect yourself

  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
  • Cover up. When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light.
  • Use sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating. And always follow the directions on the label.
  • Seek shade. Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Cancer Society

Wellness Wednesday: Child Passenger Safety Week

“Right Seat. Right Time. Right Use”

CarSeatSafety-infographic-cThe week of September 13-19, 2015 is Child Passenger Safety Week. Every parent wants to protect their children and keep them safe. The best way to protect children in a car is to secure them in the right seat, at the right time, and to use it the right way.

Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Seat Belt Numbers

  • In 2014, there were 121,317 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,195 people and injured another 79,758 people.
  • On an average day in Pennsylvania:
    • Each day 332 reportable traffic crashes occurred—about 14 crashes every hour.
    • Each day 219 persons were injured in reportable crashes—about 9 injuries every hour.
  • Research has shown that correctly using an appropriate child restraint or seat belt is the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.
  • Lap and shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.
  • Pennsylvania seat belt usage rate was 84% in 2014. National statistics show that for every one percent increase in seat belt usage, 8 to 12 lives can be saved on the highways.
  • Research shows that children are likely to be buckled 91% of the time when adults are buckled and only 68% of the time when adults are not buckled. Everyone should buckle up, every time!
  • Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of home.
  • From 2010-2014, 82% of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a child seat sustained no injury.

(Source: 2014 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics)

CPS-InfographicChild Safety Seats Statistics

  • Motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for children age 4 and the second leading cause of death for children age 3 and every age 5 through 14 in 2013.
  • Every 34 seconds one child under age 13 is involved in a crash.
  • NHTSA estimates that correctly used child restraints are even more effective than seat belts in reducing fatalities. Child restraints reduce fatalities by 71% for infants younger than one year old and by 54% for children 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars.
  • Among children younger than age 5, an estimated 263 lives were saved in 2013 by restraint use. At 100 percent child safety seat use for children younger than age 5, an additional 55 lives could have been saved.

 (Source: NHTSA)


Area Car Seat Safety Checks

Saturday, September 19 is National Seat Check Saturday. Parents can bring their children and infant car seats to the following area locations to be checked and shown how to properly install them.

CarSeatSafety-infographicPhiladelphia County:

September 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
PA State Police Barracks
2201 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.
Appointments preferred, but walk-ins accepted as time allows: 215.452.5208

Montgomery County:

September 19, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Plymouth Fire Company
1323 Colwell Lane, Conshohocken, Pa.
Appointment Required: 215.590.5437 or www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety

Delaware County:

September 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
September 19, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Middletown Fire Company
425 S. New Middletown Road, Media, Pa.
Appointments preferred, but walk-ins accepted as time allows: 610.558.7074

Bucks County:

September 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Babies R Us
330 Commerce Blvd., Fairless Hills, Pa.
Appointment Required: 215.710.2350 or www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety


For more information:

02-cps-weekPennsylvania’s Child Passenger Protection Laws

How to Find the Right Car Seat

www.pakidstravelsafe.org/car-seats

Wellness Wednesday: Top Ten Hidden Hazards in the Home

September is Baby Safety Month. Below are the ten top hidden hazards that can be found in the home. Make sure your home is a safe place for baby. For more information, visit www.babysafetyzone.org.

baby_safety_month_web_banner

Magnets

Small magnets can be easily swallowed by children. Once inside the body, they can attract to each other and cause significant internal damage. Keep magnets high enough on your refrigerator that they are out of reach. If you fear your child has swallowed magnets, seek medical attention immediately.

Baby1

Recalled Products

Know if a product you own has been recalled, including second-hand products. The best way to ensure your products are safe is to fill out your product registration card and check for recalls at www.recalls.gov.

Baby2

Loose Change

Change can easily wind up on tables or in couch cushions, where curious children could ingest them. A great way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to assign a tray or jar for loose change and keep it out of a child’s reach.

Baby3

Tipovers

Tipovers are a leading cause of injury to children. The best way to avoid them is to make sure all furniture and televisions are secured to the wall.

Baby4

Pot Handle Sticking Out From Stove

When cooking, it is best that pot handles turn inward instead of sticking out from the stove where little ones may reach up and grab the hot handle. In addition, if holding a child while cooking, remember to keep the handles out of the child’s reach.

Baby5

Loose Rugs or Carpet

Area rugs or carpet that is not secured to the floor causes a tripping hazard for little ones who may already be unstable on their feet. Make sure that all corners are taped down and bumps are smoothed out.

Baby6

Liquid Laundry Packets

It is estimated that thousands of children have been exposed to and injured by liquid laundry packets. Easily mistaken by children as candy, these pods pose a risk to the eyes and, if ingested, to their lives. It is important to keep these items out of reach of children.

Baby7

Hot Mugs

A relaxing cup of coffee or tea can quickly turn into an emergency if hot mugs are left unattended or are placed near the edge of tables where little hands can grab them. Beware of tablecloths that can be pulled down with hot items on top as well.

Baby8

Cords

Cords can pose strangulation hazards to children, whether they are connected to blinds, home gym equipment or baby monitors. Keep cords tied up and out of reach of children. Remember to keep cribs away from cords that the child may reach while inside the crib.

Baby9

Button Batteries

Button batteries are flat, round batteries that resemble coins or buttons. They are found in common household items such as flashlights, remotes or flameless candles. Similar to coins and magnets, they pose a serious risk if ingested.

Baby10

Wellness Wednesday: School Starts Soon—Is Your Child Fully Vaccinated?

VaccinationSchool-age children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. CDC has online resources and tools to help parents and doctors make sure all kids are up to date on recommended vaccines and protected from serious diseases.

Make sure your children are up-to-date on vaccines before sending them back to school. School-age children, from preschoolers, to middle schoolers, to college students, need vaccines. Use CDC’s online resources and tools to check the recommended vaccines for your children. Get your children to the doctor if you discover they need vaccines to protect them against serious diseases.

What All Parents Need To Know

Making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health—as well as the health of friends, classmates and others in your community.

To keep children in schools healthy, your state may require children going to school to be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough). If you’re unsure of your state’s school requirements, now is the time to check with your child’s doctor, your child’s school, or your health department. That way, you can get your child any vaccines he needs before the back-to-school rush.


Immunization Requirements for Child Care and School

The CDC does not set immunization requirements for schools or child care centers. Instead, each state decides which immunizations are required for your child’s enrollment and attendance at a child care facility or school in that state.

  • Talk to a staff member to learn what vaccines are required at the school or child care facility in which you would like to enroll your child. They will be able to provide you with specific information about their requirements.
  • If you would like to know your state’s immunization requirements, contact your State’s Immunization Program or Department of Health.
  • CDC also has a tool to help find more information about your state’s school vaccination requirements. (Select your state under “Grantee” options, your child’s level, and click “Get Results” to view your state vaccination requirements.)

Disease Outbreaks Still Happen

It’s true that some vaccine-preventable diseases have become very rare thanks to vaccines. However, cases and outbreaks still happen. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases. From January 1 to August 1, 2014, there were 593 cases of measles reported in the U.S., with 18 outbreaks of this disease. From January 1 to June 16, 2014, almost 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDC by 50 states and Washington, D.C. These numbers represent a 24 percent increase compared with the same time period in 2013.

Outbreaks of whooping cough at middle and high schools can occur as protection from childhood vaccines fades. Those who are vaccinated against whooping cough but still get the disease are much more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine.

Making sure your children stay up to date with vaccinations is the best way to protect your communities and schools from outbreaks that can cause unnecessary illnesses and deaths.

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible.

Vaccines for Your Young Children (Newborns through 6 years old)

2014 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old

During the early years of life, your children need vaccines to protect them from 14 diseases that can be serious, even life-threatening. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children increase the risk of disease not only for their own children, but also for other children and adults throughout the entire community. For example, vulnerable newborns too young to have received the maximum protection from the recommended doses of vaccines or people with weakened immune systems, such as some people with cancer and transplant recipients, are also at higher risk of disease.

Flu vaccines are recommended for kids in preschool and elementary school to help keep them healthy. In fact, all children 6 months and older should get flu vaccines. Getting all of your children vaccinated—as well as other family members and caregivers—can help protect infants younger than 6 months old. Ask your family’s doctor or nurse about getting flu shots or the nasal spray to protect against flu.

Parents can find out what vaccines their children need and when the doses should be given by reviewing CDC’s recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule.

Vaccines for Your Preteens and Teens (7 years old through 18 years old)

2015 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 Years Old

Preteens and teens need vaccines, too! As kids get older, they are still at risk for certain diseases. Before heading back to school, three vaccines are recommend for 11-12 year olds—HPV, Tdap, and meningococcal conjugate vaccine—for continued protection.

HPV vaccine is important because it can prevent HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. For other diseases, like whooping cough, the protection from vaccine doses received in childhood fades over time. That’s why 11–12 year-olds are also recommended to get the booster shot called Tdap to help protect them from whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps prevent two of the three most common causes of meningococcal disease, which can be very serious—even life-threatening.

It’s important to know that flu can be serious, even for healthy, young people. Preteens and teens are no exception. So older kids should get at least one flu vaccine (the shot or nasal spray for healthy kids) every year.

To learn more about vaccines for your preteens and teens, talk to your child’s healthcare provider or visit the preteen and teen vaccine pages. CDC provides a recommended immunization schedule for people ages 7 through 18 years for parents and doctors to follow to protect preteens and teens from vaccine-preventable disease. If your preteens or teens haven’t already gotten their vaccines, you should get them caught up as soon as possible.


The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children through doctors enrolled in the program. Find out if your child qualifies. 


It’s Not Too Late

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible. If a child misses a shot, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to catch up. To help, CDC and colleagues at Georgia Tech have developed the Catch-Up Immunization Scheduler, an online tool that shows parents and healthcare providers the best options for getting children 6 years of age and younger back on schedule.

Or, parents and healthcare providers can use the Adolescent Immunization Scheduler to determine what vaccines are needed for children 7 through 18 years of age.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BackToSchool

Wellness Wednesday: Meningococcal Vaccine for Preteens and Teens

Why does my child need meningococcal vaccine?

meningococcalThe meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four strains of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These infections don’t happen very often, but can be very dangerous when they do. The two most severe and common forms of meningococcal disease are meningitis and septicemia. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord and can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and even death. Septicemia is a bloodstream infection, which can lead to loss of an arm or leg and even death. Even if they get treatment, about 1 in 10 people with meningococcal disease will die from it.

Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person. The bacteria that cause this infection can spread when people have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, like through kissing or coughing, especially if they are living in the same place. Teens and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease can become very serious, very quickly. The meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens from getting meningococcal disease.


In short, meningococcal meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord that is caused be a very serious bacterial infection. This infection can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and even death. In addition to death, other types of meningococcal disease can lead to loss of an arm or leg.


When should my child be vaccinated?

Teens are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease. Preteens should get the first meningococcal shot when they are 11 or 12 years old, before they become teens and their risk is higher. Older teens need a second shot when they are 16 years old, so they stay protected when their risk is the highest.

Teens who got meningococcal vaccine for the first time when were 13, 14 or 15 years old should still get the booster shot when they are 16 years old. If your older teen didn’t get the meningococcal shot at all, you should talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible. This is really important if they are about to move into a college residence hall as a first-year student or go into the military. Living in community settings like those can increase the risk of getting meningococcal disease.

meningitis_symptoms_2

What else should I know about the vaccine?

Meningococcal vaccine has been studied very carefully and is safe and effective. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

Like many vaccines, the meningococcal shot may cause mild side effects, like redness and soreness where the shot was given (usually in the arm). A few people who get the vaccine will get a fever. Some preteens and teens might faint after getting meningococcal vaccine or any shot. To help avoid fainting, preteens and teens should sit or lie down when they get a shot and then for about 15 minutes after getting the shot. Serious side effects from meningococcal vaccine are rare.

Where can I learn more?

Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn more about meningococcal vaccine and the other vaccines that your child may need. You can also find out more about these vaccines on CDC’s Vaccines for Preteens and Teens website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens.

To learn about who should and should not get this vaccine, when they should be vaccinated, and the risks and benefits of this vaccine, consult the meningococcal vaccine information statement.

View article as a PDF: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/mening.pdf

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CollegeAge