An Apple a Day

Celebrate World Rabies Day and become informed

September 28, 2015

Today is World Rabies Day – a day set aside to learn the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the disease.

Since Riverside County has experienced its fourth rabies-related incident in recent months, this is a good time to educate ourselves on rabies and the dangers associated with it.

If you are a pet owner or love to be outdoors, then you are at risk for coming in contact with a wild animal that is rabies-infected. Animals that can transmit rabies to humans include raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.

Transmission of rabies can occur through contact with an animal in the form of a bite, scratch or petting the animal. In fact, even if you come in contact with the related matter (e.g., feces) of a rabies-infected animal, you are at risk.

How do you know if you’ve been infected? Some of the symptoms include general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache that last for days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there may be also discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the site of bite, progressing within days to symptoms of cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation. As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia.”

While not often fatal, rabies can have severe health impact. If you think you have been exposed or infected, contact your health care provider for treatment.

And to learn more about World Rabies Day, and the facts, prevention and control of this disease, visit www.cdc.gov/worldrabiesday/.

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.


‘Disease Watch’ launches to keep RivCo residents informed

September 24, 2015

Hopefully you have heard the news by now that Riverside County has seen several cases of West Nile Virus, with some having turned fatal.

While such a tragic outcome is not typically the norm, we do want to remind residents and visitors to be mindful of standing water on or near their homes, which can attract mosquitos. Not all mosquitos carry the virus, but when they do, and if they bite you, there is a chance you could become seriously ill. West Nile Virus (video)

What can you do to protect yourself? Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves, pants and socks when outdoors, empty unused flowerpots and wading pools and change water in birdbaths and pet bowls at least weekly.

You can also stay informed! Riverside County Department of Public Health’s Disease Control recently launched “Disease Watch.” This informative graphic was created to keep Riverside County residents and visitors informed of the number of human cases and deaths of West Nile Virus, but also influenza, rabies and even travel alerts.                                                                                      

And don’t forget to check out the map that details where West Nile Virus cases have been reported and found, and where mosquito control operations, such as spraying are occurring.

The site is updated weekly during the West Nile peak season and additional information from vector control agencies will be added as it is received. The map can be found here.

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.

 


Call to action -- get walking for better health
September 17, 2015

The U. S. Surgeon General has issued a call to action urging everyone to get up and get moving to create walkable communities.

Why? Well, it’s an easy thing to say that walking is great for our overall health and well-being. But, it’s easier said than done when your community is without safe sidewalks and walking paths.

It’s important for all sectors of the community to get involved in this effort, including representatives from public health, parks and recreation, land use and transportation and city leaders.

You can get started by clicking here.

Speaking of walking, our Injury Prevention Services team is gearing up to take part in International Walk to School Day on Oct. 7.

This is actually a big deal, because we want families across Riverside County to embrace healthy exercise habits. And what better way to do that than by walking to school?

We currently have 66 schools that have signed on to participate on Oct. 7 and the staff is lining up a few exciting guest walkers. Kids will win some cool prizes, too. If you would like your school to participate, it’s not too late.

Just call the Safe Routes to School Program at 951.358.7171 or 760.863.8567 and they will get you started today.

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.


Are you prepared for a disaster?

September 15, 2015
 

Life teaches us never to get too comfortable. Just when we think that all is well, crisis has a way of laying claim to the calm.

Since September is National Preparedness Month, this is a great time to make a checklist of all the ways in which you should prepare yourself and your family for a potential disaster at home, at work and in your neighborhood.

Read: September 15 is Get Ready Day

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best things you can do to prepare for a crisis is to be healthy in order to avoid illness and injury, become CPR and first aid trained and build bonds of communication with your friends and neighbors.

When it comes to the basics of emergency preparation, Riverside County residents should also check out Riverside County Department of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response and RivCoReady.org for a comprehensive list of preparedness resources that include tips for coping with tragedy and links to disaster planning for kids, pets and the elderly, too.

Whether for an earthquake or power outage, you will find informative tips for creating a disaster survival kit, making a family plan, an online directory for things like current road closures and local hazards and guidelines for recognizing and responding to incidents of domestic terrorism.

Most importantly, there are ways for you to get involved. In fact, there are many local organizations and groups that will train you to assist your community in the event of a disaster.

Are you and your family prepared for a disaster? Don’t you think it’s time that you are?

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.


Today is World Suicide Prevention Day
September 10, 2015

Loss is never easy. But to lose a friend or loved one to suicide is one of the most heartbreaking experiences we can endure.

According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, suicide claims approximately 800,000 lives across the world each year. That’s a devastating statistic, but it’s one that can be reduced.

By knowing the signs and symptoms of someone who is suffering through hardship or depression, we can be more effective in how and when we reach out to help.

Those signs can include the following behavior changes from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for ways to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Reckless behavior
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

Since today is World Suicide Prevention Day, this is a good time to take account of your loved ones. Take note of their emotional state. Open up a dialogue, ask about their work and home life and remind them that you are a safe and reliable friend to whom they can bring their troubles.

And if you are feeling depressed or the idea of suicide has crossed your mind, don’t despair! Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Or look to organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 for a lifeline to hope and healing.

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.  

September is National Childhood Obesity Month
September 8, 2015

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S., about 17 percent, is considered obese. Those numbers are troubling, especially considering what we know about the health risks associated with obesity.

Children who are obese are at an increased risk for health issues such as diabetes and certain cancers, and also face mental health problems brought on by bullying and the stigma associated with being overweight.

There are some things we can do as parents to help our kids become and stay fit and healthy:

Exercise is vital for good health. Keep your children active and make sure the physical activity is fun, well-paced and done on a regular basis.

Serve fruits and veggies for best health. Avoid foods that are high in calories, added sugars and fats.

Drink lots of water. Stay away from the sugar-sweetened beverages that add to weight gain and do little to actually quell thirst.

Be a role model. By modeling good nutrition and exercise habits in your home and with your family, you will send a powerful message of health and wellness.

Be sure to visit the Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Services – a program devoted to supporting families throughout Riverside County as they strive to achieve their best health.

Its programs include Riverside County WIC that helps pregnant women, new mothers and young children eat well, stay healthy and be active and Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) -- a provider-based program implemented in child care centers to promote healthy weight development in preschool children by improving the nutritional quality of food served, amount and quality of physical activity, staff-child interactions and more.

The County of Riverside Department of 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 www.rivcoph.org.