The pro-gun control group States United To Prevent Gun Violence opens a “gun store” in NYC as a hidden camera social experiment to debunk the myth that you are safer if you won a gun. Learn more at gunswithhistory.com.
By Eyob Mazengia, PhD, RS, Food Protection Program
Public Health – Seattle & King County
When I started as a food inspector, I was assigned to the International District. And I liked it. It was almost like walking into a new culture, a new era.
What fascinated me was that as a public health worker, I had permission to walk into people’s personal spaces. I liked the smells, the sounds of their languages, their wall hangings and the way things looked.
It was a privilege, really, to be allowed into their personal spaces. Going on food inspections in the I.D., it was like walking into 3-4 different countries every day, without traveling outside the neighborhood.
Over the years, I established good relationships with the restaurant establishments. They were no longer just restaurant operators—they were mothers, fathers, grown kids. They’re not just businesses—there’s a family behind every door, people who had often gone through difficult times to be here.
And as I got to know them, I could recognize the sacrifices they made to give their children better opportunities in the U.S., and what they left behind. Even those born and raised here, you could recognize the sacrifices they were making. Continue reading
By Alan Abe, Emergency Medical Services Division
Public Health – Seattle & King County
Do you know someone over 65 who has fallen? Have you reached that age and are concerned about your risk?
Senior falls are all too common, with results that are often serious and sometime even grave.
Nearly 24,000 seniors died nationally in 2012 due to falls, nearly doubling in ten years. And over 2.4 million people – almost four times the population of Seattle – were hospitalized.
What’s driving this toppling trend? More of us are living longer, and as a society, we’re getting older. And with the aging of the baby boomer generation, this trend will continue. By 2030, the US Census Bureau estimates that there could be about 75 million people over 65 in the United States.
As we age, we tend to collect conditions that make us more vulnerable to falls: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.
So, what can we do about it? We know that 60% of senior falls happen in the home, so if we improve safety and reduce risks there, we can make a big difference.
That’s where King County Emergency Medical Services/Medic One comes in. They have developed the One Step Ahead Fall Prevention Program to help at-risk seniors stay healthy, independent and safe in their homes.
How does the program work? Continue reading
Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, MD, was appointed today as Interim Local Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Duchin is a familiar figure in the health field, having held the position of chief of the department’s Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section since 1999 and frequently serving as a department spokesperson.
In his new role, Duchin will provide leadership in developing priorities and setting strategies for the health department, with a particular role as the key science advisor on program and policy development.
Duchin will split time between his Health Officer duties and his continued direction of communicable disease and immunization activities. He will also maintain an affiliation with the University of Washington as a Professor of Medicine.
As part of his Health Officer duties, he will work with other health officers in Washington State on health issues that cross county borders.
In addition, Duchin will represent Public Health – Seattle & King County on external committees, task forces, and as a liaison to regional and national professional organizations.
Duchin’s is currently the Chair of the Public Health Committee of the Infectious Disease Society of America and has served in many other advisory roles, including the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Institute of Medicine.
The Interim Local Health Officer reports to Patty Hayes, Interim Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. Prior to Duchin, the position was held by the previous Director, Dr. David Fleming.
By Tony Gomez, BS, RS, Manager, Violence and Injury Prevention
Public Health — Seattle & King County
I’ve worked on Violence and Injury Prevention for over thirty years. I consistently notice in the media and in conversations about firearms that usually the discussion focuses on tragic homicides.
But, the truth is that most firearm deaths are suicides—often hidden from the public conversation. In King County, nearly 70% of firearm deaths being suicides, it’s crucial we come together despite different ideologies.
The truth is that most firearm deaths are suicides.
With firearm ownership so prevalent in King County (~25%) – and some estimated 30,000 households that keep at least one firearm loaded and unlocked – we can’t afford to wait any longer to get those easily stolen and accessed firearms locked up.
We know that impulsivity plays a significant role in suicide attempts; easy access to highly lethal means, such as firearms, increases risk. Strong evidence exists, both in the United States and abroad, that restricting access to lethal means is an effective way to reduce suicide.
Suicide prevention efforts in King County and elsewhere in the United States now champion safe storage of firearms. Continue reading
Public Health Insider: Behind-the-scenes of the agency protecting the health and well-being of all people in Seattle & King County
New York City has them, so does L.A. Even Toronto has them. So why aren’t there food safety inspection grades posted outside of restaurants in King County?
The answer? Food safety performance placarding is coming, and when it does, it will give patrons and establishments alike information that is meaningful, clear, and motivating.
Diners need to know actual risk
There’s a lot on the line: Studies show that restaurant placards influence consumer behavior. But research on the systems that give A-B-C grades shows that A-B-C placards don’t communicate what consumers are expect. Continue reading
By Tim Henderson
They walk in front of cars, and into tree limbs and street signs. They fall off curbs and bridges into wet cement and creek beds.
They are distracted walkers who, while calling or texting on mobile phones, have suffered cuts and bruises, sustained serious head injuries or even been killed.
As many cities and states promote walkable neighborhoods, in part to attract more young people, some also are levying fines on distracted walkers and lowering speed limits to make streets gentler for the inattentive.
Pedestrian injuries due to cell phone use are up 35 percent since 2010, according to federal emergency room data reviewed by Stateline, and some researchers blame at least 10 percent of the 78,000 pedestrian injuries in the U.S. in 2012 on mobile device distraction.
The federal Fatality Analysis Reporting system attributes about a half-dozen pedestrians deaths a year to “portable electronic devices,” including phones and music players.
From the National Institutes of Health
NIH, CDC study shows unsafe infant bedding use still common, despite warnings
Nearly 55 percent of U.S. infants are placed to sleep with bedding that increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, despite recommendations against the practice, report researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions.
Soft objects and loose bedding — such as thick blankets, quilts, and pillows — can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk, according to the NIH’s Safe to Sleep campaign.
Soft bedding has also been shown to increase the risk of SIDS Infants should be placed to sleep alone, on their backs, on a firm sleep surface, such as in a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet. Soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, quilts, comforters and loose bedding should be kept out of the baby’s sleep area.
Parents have good intentions but may not understand that blankets, quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.”—Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Ph.D.
“Parents have good intentions but may not understand that blankets, quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation,” said the study’s first author, Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior scientist in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health in Atlanta. Continue reading
King County is offering free Flood Alerts to help keep you informed of flood conditions you can sign up for phone or text messages — or get an app.
- Get Alerts by e-mail and/or phone (voice or text messages)
- Select the rivers that affect you
- Select the flood phase levels of interest to you.
You’ve been protecting your kids their whole lives. So don’t just hand them the keys to a two-ton machine with no rules… Talk it out. Tell your teenagers they have to agree to 5 rules to drive:
- No cell phones,
- No extra passengers,
- No speeding,
- No alcohol, and
Set the rules before they hit the road.
Learn more here.
By Jenni Bergal
Back in 2008, South Carolina transportation officials were itching to do something innovative to curtail the number of serious traffic crashes in their state.
The federal government already had designated South Carolina as one of the states with the highest proportion of traffic fatalities at intersections.
So state highway safety officials began working with their counterparts at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to come up with a new, system-wide approach to tackling the problem. Continue reading
By Michael Ollove
Athens, Georgia—When Georgia public high schools were asked several years ago to devise a policy to govern sports activities during periods of high heat and humidity, one school’s proposal stood out: It pledged to scale back workouts when the heat index reached 140.
Those who understood the heat index, the combined effects of air temperature and humidity, weren’t sure whether to be appalled or amused. “If you hit a heat index of 140,” said Bud Cooper, a sports medicine researcher at the University of Georgia who examined all the proposed policies, “you’d basically be sitting in the Sahara Desert.”
The policy reflected an old-school, “no pain, no gain” philosophy, a view that athletes need to be pushed to their physical limits—or beyond them—if they and their teams are to realize their full potential.
In some places, state, school and sports officials are recognizing that the zeal of coaches, players, and parents for athletic accomplishment must be subordinated to safety. Increasingly, they are adopting measures to protect student athletes from serious, even catastrophic injuries or illnesses that can be the consequence of a blinkered focus on competitiveness. Continue reading
Tips for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Going to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. College is a great time for new experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. Here are a few pointers for college students on staying safe and healthy. Continue reading
Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off.
Heat exposure can even kill you: it caused 7,233 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2009.
Learn about heat-related illness and how to stay cool and safe in hot weather
- High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
- Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.