An Apple a Day

Welcome to my blog – An Apple a Day! This is where I hope you and I can have a conversation about all things health-related.

This column is meant to be an opportunity for you to learn my thoughts on everything from healthy living and fitness to immunizations and protecting yourself from infectious disease.

It’s a chance for me to share my ideas on how to optimize all we know about the latest and greatest in health science and innovation to keep you and your family happy and well. And you’ll get to read up on all the many things happening here at the County of Riverside Department of Health. Of course, there are a lot of pretty incredible things happening here— community forums, informative programs and comprehensive services, all designed to support your health and wellness goals.

Check in every week for a new blog where we will begin a journey towards your best health – together. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and Facebook.

                                      Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Public Health Officer 

Protect yourself against the flu
November 29, 2018

The recent death of a 60-year-old Riverside man who tested positive for influenza is a tragic reminder that the flu can be deadly, especially for the young, elderly and those whose health is already compromised.

The patient died in early November – the first flu-associated death this flu season in Riverside County – after being admitted to a local hospital in Riverside. On top of that, last year’s flu season for 2017-18 was one of the worst in generations: There were 23 flu-associated deaths in Riverside County of individuals 64 or younger and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 80,000 flu deaths nationally.

The moral of this terrible story is that the flu still kills, and local, state and national health officials continue to recommend community members get their flu shot. Get your flu shot and get protected.

Although the individual had received a flu shot, he had underlying health issues which made him more susceptible, demonstrating individuals with chronic medical problems are among the greatest at risk. But even healthy people can get the flu and its complications. We recommend anyone 6 months or older get vaccinated against the flu, and the best time to get the shot is early in the flu season to give the body enough time for the immunization to work. But it’s not too late; there are plenty of doses available. Last year’s vaccination was shown to be about 40 percent effective – which is to say, getting the flu shot last year reduced your chance of getting the flu by 40 percent -- and this year’s is likely to be substantially better.

Is it possible to get the flu even if you get vaccinated? Yes. But it has been shown that the severity of the symptoms is reduced for those who have been vaccinated. And even though a few people may have a brief reaction, the flu shot can’t give you the flu. Most people will have no reaction at all.
Of course we have the common safety tips: avoid sick people, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay home from work or school when you are feeling sick and wash your hands frequently.

But from where I’m standing, the best weapon in our fight against the flu is to get your annual vaccination. It only takes a minute, but for some of us, it could honestly be the difference between life and death.

Riverside University Health System – Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at

Smoke, ash and extreme heat can create health issues
August 7, 2018

With the recent wildfires and all the smoke and ash, it could be a real problem just trying to take a breath of fresh air. Unhealthful air can be a serious health hazard, especially for youngsters and the elderly, and anyone who copes with respiratory issues such as asthma.

Read on for some tips to keep you safe and cool in these extreme conditions:

--Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol in particular may cause you not to realize when the heat has become unsafe.

--Turn on your air conditioner and stay in an air-conditioned space at home, or someplace cool like the mall, a library, senior center or Cool Center. Air conditioners not only cool the air, they filter it.

--Schedule outside activities before noon or in the evening. 

--Avoid or minimize physical exertion when smoke and ash are around. The small toxic particles can get deep within your lungs and sometimes even cross into the blood. Rest in shade or a cool place when you can.

--Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing.

--Wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

--Don’t eat heavy meals.  Avoid cooking with your oven.

--Take a cool shower or bath.

--Don’t linger in a hot car, even for a short time. Get the air conditioner on when you’re driving. Never leave a person or animal alone in a vehicle, even for a second, and particularly during high temperatures.

 --Check on your friends and neighbors who are elderly or have medical conditions.

Older people are at higher risk for problems when it’s very hot. People with heart or circulatory disease can also be at unusually high risk. If you fall in these categories, find a safe, cool place to be.

If you’re feeling weak or dizzy, or have headache and muscle aches, and getting to a cool place with fluids isn’t helping, you may have heat stroke. Call for help right away, or 911 if your symptoms are severe.

Riverside University Health System – Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at