Swimming pools, beaches, lakes, and streams provide an opportunity to cool off during a summer that’s warmer than usual.
Yet germs in the water can make people sick, especially young children, elderly people, and people with weak immune systems.
Chlorine in swimming pools kills most germs, but some types of germs can resist chlorine for many days.
Germs that can cause waterborne illness include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, E. coli, and norovirus. In the past three years, three outbreaks of waterborne illness have been reported to state health officials – two in lakes and one in a swimming pool.
“It’s important to do all we can to protect ourselves and others from waterborne diseases when we take a dip into local pools, lakes, and rivers,” said State Epidemiologist for Communicable Disease Dr. Scott Lindquist. “Stay out of the water if you’re ill or have recently had diarrhea.” Continue reading →
By Tara Bostock Public Health – Seattle and King County
It turns out that encouraging students to make healthier choices in the lunchroom can be accomplished affordably and without a major overhaul of the cafeteria.
Research shows that small changes like making the salad bar the highlight of the lunchroom, displaying fruit in attractive baskets, or placing healthy foods by the cash register can influence what students select to eat.
In Washington State, the Kent School District is leading the way by changing their cafeterias to
How the Kent School District is bringing behavioral economics principles to their lunchrooms.
Symphonie Dawson was 23 and studying to be a paralegal while working part-time for a temporary staffing agency when she learned that the reason she kept feeling sick was because she was pregnant.
Living with her mom and two siblings near Dallas, Dawson worried about what to expect during pregnancy and what giving birth would be like, not to mention how to juggle having a baby with being in school.
There have been a total of 387 cases of whooping cough reported statewide so far this year, compared to 85 reported cases during the same time period last year, the Washington State Department of Health reports.
Newborns and infants, who cannot be immunized against the disease, are at greatest risk of serious complications. To date, 25 infants under one year of age were reported as having whooping cough and six of them were hospitalized. Of these hospitalized infants, five (83%) were three months of age or younger.
How to protect infants from whooping cough – CDC
Because the disease can make babies so sick, and they can catch it from anyone around them, they need protection. These are the three important ways you can help protect them with vaccines:
If you are pregnant, get vaccinated with the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester.
Surround your baby with family members and caregivers who are up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine.
Make sure your baby gets all his doses of the whooping cough vaccine according to CDC’s recommended schedule.
Whooping cough fact sheet from the Department of Health
A new study presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies conference in San Diego, California, suggests that placement of “Green Smiley Faced” emoticons at healthy foods and awarding small prizes to children purchasing nutritious foods could be an alternative way to avoid poor food selection in school canteens, an identified cause of childhood obesity.
“My time is coming. It’s already time for me to die. I can’t wait. … So yeah I plan to kill myself during spring break, which by the way, starts in two days.” — Wynne Lee wrote in a March 29, 2012 journal post
Wynne Lee’s mind was at war with itself – one voice telling her to kill herself and another telling her to live. She had just turned 14.
She tried to push the thoughts away by playing video games and listening to music. Nothing worked. Then she started cutting herself. She’d pull out a razor, make a small incision on her ankle or forearm and watch the blood seep out. “Cutting was a sharp, instant relief,” she said
When it comes to mental health treatment, Asian Americans often get short shrift. Researchers say they are both less well-studied and less likely to seek treatment.
Some days, that wasn’t enough. That’s when she’d think about suicide. She wrote her feelings in a journal in big loopy letters.
At first, Wynne thought she felt sad because she was having a hard 8th grade year. She and her boyfriend broke up. Girls were spreading rumors about her. A few childhood friends abandoned her. But months passed and the feelings of helplessness and loneliness wouldn’t go away.
“I was really happy as a kid and now I was feeling like this,” she said. “It was really unfamiliar and scary.”
Wynne Lee didn’t know where her despair was coming from. The words “depression” and “suicide” were not in her vocabulary. She knew, however, that she was failing — she was defying expectations of who she was supposed to be. Continue reading →
Child safety seats can save lives, but they need to be used properly to be effective.
Parents and caregivers can get support in fitting their children securely in car seats at five free child car seat check-up events in upcoming months, beginning Friday, April 24, 2015. Public Health – Seattle & King County is hosting the events.
Parents and caregivers will have their child safety seat checked by a certified child safety seat technician for safe installation and educational materials will be on hand. Soon-to-be parents and caregivers are welcome as well.
The use of long-acting, reversible forms of contraception remains low among sexually active teen girls, though that trend seems to be changing, according to a U.S. government report released Tuesday.
Among teens aged 15 to 19, the use of long-acting reversible contraception rose from less than 1 percent in 2005 to about 7 percent in 2013, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children’s liquid medicines should only be measured in metric units to avoid overdoses common with teaspoons and tablespoons, U.S. pediatricians say.
Tens of thousands of kids wind up in emergency rooms after unintentional medicine overdoses each year, and the cause is often badly labeled containers or unclear directions, said Dr. Ian Paul, a pediatrician at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Children’s Hospital and lead author of new metric dosing guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Between 2003 and 2010, the number of U.S. kids eating fast food on any given day went down, and the calories from some types of fast foods have declined as well, according to a new study.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, in 2003, almost 39 percent of U.S. kids ate fast food on a given day, which dropped to less than 33 percent by the 2009-2010 survey.
The federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will run out of money on Sept. 30.
Until recently, Congress showed little interest in paying for it. But this week, the House agreed on a bill that would continue the $13 billion program in its current form through 2017.
In late February, Republicans in both houses issued a “discussion draft” outlining modifications they claimed would make the program more flexible for states, even though most governors say they don’t want any changes to what they consider a near-perfect health care program.
Most governors say they don’t want any changes to what they consider a near-perfect health care program.
The GOP proposal would have narrowed coverage to the lowest-income families currently served by CHIP and allowed states to cut back enrollment.
If CHIP is not renewed, advocates say more than 2 million of the 8 million kids currently covered by the program could wind up uninsured. Continue reading →
African-American and Latina girls are more than twice as likely as white girls to become pregnant before they leave adolescence, which continues to confound states.
By Teresa Wiltz Stateline
LaNita Harris of the Oklahoma City County Health Department explains two of the posters the department uses in its Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. Although teen pregnancy and birth rates have dropped the past two decades, states still face the reality that black and Latina teens are more than twice as likely as white teens to become pregnant. (AP)
It’s a problem once thought to be intractable, and yet pregnancy and birth rates for black and Latina teens have dropped precipitously in the past two decades—at a much faster clip than that of white teens.
Despite this, black and Latina girls are more than twice as likely as white girls to become pregnant before they leave adolescence.
This glass half-full, half-empty scenario is a dilemma that continues to confound states. The racial and ethnic disparities surrounding teen pregnancy are stubborn, often a cause and consequence of poverty and a complex array of societal factors.
Teen pregnancies are usually unplanned and come with a steep price tag, costing U.S. taxpayers up to $28 billion a year, according to the Office of Adolescent Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Some states like Mississippi have found innovative ways to tackle the problem by targeting specific populations, while others like Kansas are serving up bills that make it more difficult for teens to access sex education, which is a critical component of preventing pregnancy in adolescence, according to advocates such as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Continue reading →