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Comanche County Health Department
Think Healthy. Swim Healthy. Be Healthy.
With Memorial Day and summer right around the corner, many Oklahomans will be enjoying activities in and around the pool. However, many may not be aware there are billions of germs floating in the water of community pools, splash pads and other water venues. Pool chemicals kill most germs within minutes, but some live for days, especially in untreated water sources. The average swimmer introduces a number of dirty items into recreational water including hair, spit, feces, urine, sweat, and skin products such as lotions, cosmetics and soaps. The germs in the water can lead to illness in both adults and children.
The week before Memorial Day (May 22-29) has been designated as National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. During 2011-2012, there were 90 outbreaks across the United States linked to swimming. For these reasons, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages everyone to follow healthy swimming behaviors to prevent spreading germs and illness.
Healthy swimming behaviors can prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) caused by organisms such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli. RWIs can occur after swallowing or having contact with germs in contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, fountains, lakes or rivers. These illnesses can also be caused by inhaling mists or aerosols from contaminated water. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, skin rash and wound infections. RWIs can be prevented by taking simple precautions.
Healthy swimming behaviors include the following:
Harmful algal blooms are often present in Oklahoma lakes. These blooms can produce toxins resulting in illness in humans and animals. Direct contact with water containing the blooms can result in a skin rash; eye, ear and throat irritation; asthma-like symptoms; and diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal cramps. It is important not to swim or participate in other recreational water activities where murkiness or mats due to blue, bright green, red, or brown algae appear in or on the water, or if the water has an unpleasant odor.
Severe Weather Alerts
OSDH Warns to Protect Health and Property During Wildfire Season
OSDH Emergency Manager Darrell Eberly encourages families to have a plan for evacuation in the event they are forced to leave their homes quickly. “Wildfires can occur anywhere,” said Eberly. “They can start in remote areas, or even in your own backyard.”
In effort to protect homes and property, OSDH encourages homeowners to make a few minor adjustments to prevent the risk of fire. This becomes increasingly important as a growing number of housing additions are being developed near wooded areas. Homeowners are encouraged to trim all branches that overhang the house. Branches around the chimney and driveway should be trimmed within 15 feet. Lower branches should be pruned 6-10 feet up to prevent ground fires from spreading to the top. Other tips to protect a home from wildfire include:
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (WNV) is a reportable disease in Oklahoma. Cases and deaths for 2016 have been confirmed in Oklahoma. Persons are at greatest risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes from July through October in our state. Persons of any age can become ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but those over the age of 50 are at greater risk of developing serious illness involving the nervous system. Over 80% of people infected with the virus never become ill. If people do become ill, most cases are mild with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tiredness and body aches that go away on their own. Some people may develop a rash on the trunk of the body. In more severe cases, persons can develop meningitis or other neurologic disease.
There are over 60 species of mosquitoes in Oklahoma, some of which may carry disease. The species differ in how they look. They also differ in how they act, such as how aggressive they are when they bite, where they breed, and when they are the most active. The mosquito population boom that has resulted from the excessive recent rainfall does not foretell a more severe WNV season. The type of mosquitoes that hatch after severe flooding are primarily the species of mosquitoes classified as “nuisance mosquitoes”. They bite aggressively and cause lots of itchy bites, but they are not typically involved with transmission of diseases. Floodwater mosquito populations tend to die out 3 weeks after the rains stop and the sun dries out affected low lying areas. The following are links for more information regarding mosquitoes:
The Acute Disease Service (ADS) of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received confirmation that Oklahoma residents have acquired Zika during international travel to countries experiencing local transmission of the virus.
Zika is a reportable disease in Oklahoma as an “unusual disease or syndrome”. Zika is a mosquitoborne viral disease. Outbreaks of Zika virus have been reported in multiple countries including tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, and Brazil. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Since that time, local transmission has been identified in numerous countries and territories in the Americas. Specific areas where Zika virus is spreading are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. Visit the CDC Zika Travel Information to find where Zika is occurring.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. Zika virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti, and might be spread by Aedes albopictus mosquitoes as well. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya. They most frequently bite during the daytime, both indoors and outdoors. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. Transmission has also been found through blood transfusion, sexual transmission, and perinatal (mother-to-fetus) transmission. For these updates and more information regarding Zika see the CDC link or the OSDH Link.
Chase Morris Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act
Approved Providers for Sudden Cardiac Arrest training courses for coaches
Provider: National Federation of High Schools
Provider: Sports Safety International
E-Cigarettes & Other Vapor Products
E-cigarettes and vapor products have become increasingly popular and accessible in Oklahoma, which has raised many questions about these currently unregulated products. These links provide information about the public health perspective regarding e-cigarettes and resources to support state agencies in implementing the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in state property.
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