Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages – and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries. During National Safety Month, the Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District is working with community members to help reduce the risk of injuries. This June, we encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like prescription drug abuse; distracted driving; and slips,
trips, and falls.
- Prescription drug abuse: Prescription painkiller overdoses are a growing problem in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose – more than 4 times as many as back in 1999.
- Slips, trips, and falls: One in 3 older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems.
- Distracted driving: Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating – increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 5 crashes (18%) that injured someone involved distracted driving.
The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is supporting the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge all adults to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Yet in our area most individuals don't get the recommended amount of physical activity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults:
- Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
- Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights and using exercises bands – at least 2 days a week.
Severe weather could happen anytime. In May 2013, tornadoes devastated part of central Oklahoma. This outbreak included the deadliest tornado of the year on May 19 in Moore, Oklahoma. In just one month, November 2013, at least 70 tornadoes spanned seven
Each year, people suffer or are seriously injured by severe weather despite advance warning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered for the third year to highlight the importance of making severe weather preparedness a nationwide priority.
We all want the peace of mind of knowing that our families, friends, homes and our businesses are safe and protected from threats of any kind. And while we can't control where or when the next disaster will hit, we can take action by preparing ourselves and loved ones for emergencies and learning what actions to take.
Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you could take to be better prepared to save your life and others.
Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. During active weather, stay alert of the forecast by listening to radio or television, check the weather forecast regularly on weather.gov, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and listen for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on your cell phone. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post your plan in your home where visitors can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against severe weather. Take action and participate in a local event on April 30 through America's PrepareAthon and ensure you know what to do when severe weather occurs
Be a Force of Nature: Once you have taken action, tell your family, friends, school staff and co-workers about how they can prepare. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before acting – be one of those sources.
Learn more at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department wants you to know that there's a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common sexually transmitted disease. HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer.
The good news?
- HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccine.
- Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Paptests) and follow-up care.
- Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21
- Women to get the HPV vaccine before age 27
- Parents to make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
- Men to get the HPV vaccine if you are under age 22
Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company.
To learn more please contact your local Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department office.
Around 50,000 people get infected with HIV in the United States every year. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You could have HIV and still feel healthy. Everyone ages 15 to 65 needs to get tested for HIV at least once. All pregnant women also need to get tested.
- Have unprotected sex (sex without a condom) with someone who might have HIV
- Have sex with men who have sex with men
- Use drugs with needles
- Have a sex partner who is HIV-positive (has HIV)
- Have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)