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Comanche County Health Department
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Extreme Heat Safety Tips

Here are some Extreme Heat Safety Tips from your Local Emergency Response Coordinator.  Follow the links for fliers to compare heat exhaustion and heat stroke in English and Spanish.

Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.

  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Check the weather/listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Last but not least you should PLAN for an auto emergency.  No one ever plans to get stuck on the side of the road, but emergencies do happen. You would be smart to keep an emergency kit in your car, not only for summer road trips but also throughout the year. What should go in that kit? Jumper cables, a flashlight, paper towels, roadside flares, a first-aid kit, bottled water, car charger for cell phone, and even snacks like granola bars, among other necessities you think you might need if you got stranded. 

For more heat and vehicle safety information, please visit http://www.ready.gov/ or https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/.  Remember-Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, and Stay Informed!

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:

  1. Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. Germs can spread in the water and make other people sick.
  2. Shower before getting in the water.
  3. Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  4. Don’t swallow the water. Avoid getting water in your mouth to prevent swallowing germs.
  5. Every hour – everyone out. Take kids on bathroom breaks. • Wash your hands with soap and water after changing diapers and using the toilet.
  6. Diapered children Children who are not yet toilet-trained should wear swim diapers in the pool and lake. • Swim diapers and swim pants are not a substitute for frequent diaper changing and bathroom breaks. Check swim diapers and swim pants frequently, and change them away from the poolside. • Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming, especially the diapered area.
  7. Pool operators: check the free chlorine level and pH often. Pools: Proper free chlorine level (1-3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm] and pH (7.2-7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power. • Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level (chlorine [2-4 parts per million] or bromine [4-6 ppm] and pH (7.2-7.8) maximize germ-killing power. • Swimming in a well-maintained swimming pool will reduce your likelihood of developing an illness as many of the germs are killed by chlorine. • Avoid swimming in a pool with cloudy or off-colored water. If you cannot see the main bottom drain, stay out of the pool.

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.

For more information regarding waterborne diseases and prevention, please visit: OSDH - Acute Disease Service or CDC - Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch .

Severe Weather Alerts
Severe weather impacts every part of the country. One of the best ways to prepare is to know the hazards for our area. The Ready - Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed website is a great place to start - www.Ready.gov/.  CDC also gives some suggestions: Preparing for Spring.

OSDH Warns to Protect Health and Property During Wildfire SeasonFire Prevention
Aside from property damage, wildfires may also cause health concerns for those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or chronic heart disease. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) recommends limiting outdoor activity for people living in close proximity to a fire-stricken area to avoid inhalation of smoke, ashes and other pollutants. Children and older adults have an increased risk of suffering complications from smoke caused by a wildfire as it often contains a mix of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, building materials and other pollutants.

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:

  • When temperatures are above freezing, place a hose (at least 100-feet long) on a rack and attach it to an outdoor faucet.
  • Remove leaves and other debris from the roof and gutters.
  • Avoid placing firewood piles too close to the home.
  • Plant low-flammable plants in areas next to the home. Avoid coniferous plants when possible.
  • Install a metal shield between the home and an attached wood fence.

For more information about preparing for a wildfire or other event, visit Ready.gov and CDC.gov.

Mosquito Information

West Nile Virus

CDD - MosquitoWest 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:

Zika Virus

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 spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
    • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.  More information from CDC
    • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
    • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States.  Learn More

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
Senate Bill 239, the Chase Morris Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act goes into effect July 1. Under the new law, every coach associated with an athletic activity must complete the sudden cardiac arrest training course from Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) approved providers. In addition, a student participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity and the student’s parent or guardian will need to review and sign the Athlete/Parent/Guardian Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms and Warning Signs Information Sheet developed by the OSDH and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). OSDH-Chase Morris

The full bill, overview of the legislation, direct links to the Athlete/Parent/Guardian Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms and Warning Signs Information Sheet and links to approved provider Sudden Cardiac Arrest training courses can be found below.

Approved Providers for Sudden Cardiac Arrest training courses for coaches

Provider: National Federation of High Schools
Course: Sudden Cardiac Arrest
http://nfhslearn.com/courses/61032

Provider: Sports Safety International
Course: CardiacWise 2.0
http://www.sportsafetyinternational.org/cardiacwise/

E-Cigarettes & Other Vapor Products

_Ecig.jpgE-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.

Frequently Asked Questions About E-Cigarettes (PDF)
OSDH Tobacco Prevention Program
Smoking and Tobacco Use - CDC

 

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