An Apple a Day

Let’s come together and Veto Violence

July 28, 2015

It seems every time we turn on the TV these days there is some new story of violence – shootings and beatings, robberies and stabbings. Does it feel to you like the turmoil is getting out of control?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to give people and health care professionals the tools they need to prevent horrific acts with its VetoViolence campaign.

The initiative works to offer tips and trainings in the areas of child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, suicide and youth violence.

The first order of business is to get informed. It’s important that we learn about all the threats facing men, women and children here in the United States and abroad before deciding how we will become part of the solution in preventing violent acts.

So just what does violence prevention look like? The first goal is to stop it before it happens with strategies that help to build healthy relationships.

Next, it’s vital that the response to a violent act be immediate with emergency medical care and a report to local law enforcement.

Finally, we must look for ways to address the trauma and the factors that contribute to the violence with responsible rehabilitation.

The concept of eliminating violence in our world is a complex one that requires the participation of many smart minds and sincere hearts. If this is an effort that you and/or your professional organization would like to join, learn more at

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

SHAPE Riverside County keeps rolling with strategies and ideas
July 22, 2015

Riverside County is officially on a path to health and wellness after nearly 200 local and county agency representatives gathered Wednesday, July 22 at the Moreno Valley Conference Center to discuss ways to improve the health of residents countywide.

It was all part of the SHAPE Riverside County initiative — a months-long effort to survey thousands of Riverside County residents about their health-related concerns. More than 4,000 surveys were collected and we heard from hundreds more at community forums hosted throughout the County beginning in Jan. 2015.  

In addition to such issues as air quality, drug abuse and obesity, among the top areas of concern for residents are jobs/economy, homelessness and safe neighborhoods.

County CEO Jay Orr opened the meeting with remarks that focused on the importance of banding together to address Riverside County’s top health challenges, including childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Representatives from a variety of community sectors were present, including elected officials, safety, education, faith-based and non-profit organizations, public and mental health and health care.

Participants were tasked with brainstorming strategies for addressing health issues throughout the region. Topics discussed at the tables included health care access and affordability and how the SHAPE survey results align with existing efforts.

Among the ideas presented were to grow community education as a way of optimizing the good health message and to create incentives for businesses and partnering organizations to support a healthy environment.

Also discussed was the need to increase access to public and health services, especially in vulnerable communities.

 “It was a great meeting! We were successful in working out real, tangible solutions to some of the health and wellness issues facing residents,” said Riverside County Public Health Director Susan Harrington. 

Susan noted that the information gathered at Wednesday’s meeting would be grouped and summarized and would help shape the Community Health Improvement Plan, the guiding document towards health in Riverside County.

It’s not too late to get involved. Email or call 951.358.5557 for more information.  

Beware of standing water for disease and drowning dangers

July 20, 2015

So, Riverside County experienced quite a downpour over the weekend. Like most of you, I am not complaining. Even though the storm was just a drop in the bucket to overcoming the effects of the drought, the rain was much needed.

But, with all that water comes some danger. Flooding and standing water can present disease and drowning hazards to residents, especially Californians unaccustomed to the wet stuff.

Consider the following tips and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

--Standing water attracts all kinds of critters, especially mosquitoes that carry infectious disease. Use insect repellent and reapply as necessary. Check your skin often for possible bites.

--Everyone is at risk for drowning in flood waters, regardless of their ability to swim. Swiftly moving shallow water can be deadly, and even shallow standing water can be dangerous for small children. Be watchful at all times and avoid flood waters.

--Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can cause illness. To protect yourself and your family, wash hands and children’s toys after contact with flood waters and don’t allow kids to play in flood water areas.

--Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected, so bandage up, keep your wounds clean and avoid exposure to flood waters.

Finally, remove all standing water to prevent accidents such as drownings. This includes water collected in buckets and barrels. In all matters, if you are unsure, call your health care provider for more information.

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

Not well? Six tips to feel better today

July 13, 2015

So, you haven't been feeling well lately. It could be that the heat or humidity is getting you down. Or maybe you're just fatigued from keeping up a frantic pace at work or at home with the kids.

Believe it or not, there are few things you can do to feel better right this very minute and it doesn't involve needles, pain or even a trip to the gym.

Hydrate. Chances are, if you're feeling sluggish or low or struggling with leg cramps or headaches, it could be that you're not drinking enough water. Be sure to hydrate with at least eight glasses of water each day.

Walk. Fresh air and a moderately-paced jaunt about the neighborhood will be enough to perk up your mood and get the endorphins flowing for a better mood and an overall feeling of wellness.

Clean. It's possible that you could be ingesting dust or even bacteria from spots throughout your home. Wash your sheets, vacuum the floor and give the furniture a good polish and see if you breathe a little easier.

Munch. Small, healthy snacks like crunchy carrots or a granola bar are an easy way to pick up some extra energy and keep the body going. Avoid big meals and stay away from sugary drinks.

Breathe. Allow yourself to inhale deeply. The oxygen will do your brain some good and will infuse your cells with a new kind of calm.

Sleep. Many folks resist the urge to rest, thinking that they must remain plugged in. Silence your cell phone, close up the computer and shut down your mind. The quiet does a body good.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Still feeling sluggish and unwell? It might be time for a visit to your health care provider. Make an appointment 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

Measles death should serve as a vital message for protection
July 9, 2015

The recent death of
Washington state woman who died this spring from complications stemming from measles offers all of us an important reminder of the benefits of vaccination in preventing illness.

While her immunization history isn't precisely known, health officials have said her immune system was compromised by medications she had to take for other illnesses.

It's another sad reminder of how important and life-saving vaccination is, especially since measles can spread very easily through the air with coughs and sneezes, or even just breathing. And it’s a reminder that diseases like the measles are still very much with us in the United States.

Because of this, we cannot let our guard down.

It’s vital that we take measures to keep ourselves and our children safe by getting properly vaccinated and staying informed of infectious diseases through our local health care providers and agencies.

Our best health depends on it. 

The Riverside County 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

Tips for staying healthy as you travel abroad this summer

July 6, 2015

Summer is in full swing and that means thousands of Riverside County residents are packing their bags and hitting the road for exotic locations all over the world. However, there are potential health hazards when you travel.

According to the
World Health Organization (WHO), international travel can pose risks to your health, simply by encountering sudden and significant changes in altitude, humidity, microbes, and temperature.

Also of concern are poor sanitation and hygiene conditions and the availability of clean water.

If you're getting set to head out to parts unknown, consider the following tips for preparing for your best health abroad:

Check for
travel notices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers frequent updates on travel advisories throughout the world. These updates will advise you on any regions where travel is deemed unsafe due to disease or even natural disasters.

Monitor infectious diseases. The CDC offers a comprehensive list of the diseases that travelers may find across the globe. Click
here to check on travel recommendations by region.

vaccinated. The CDC recommends getting properly vaccinated approximately 4-6 weeks prior to your travels so that the vaccines have time to take effect before your trip.

Consider a
mobile app. Yes, there is an app for traveling healthy and well. The CDC's TravWell offers tips and information at your fingertips for ensuring your health while you're on the go.

The Riverside County 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

Brushing up on TB: Diagnosis at local community college prompts reminder
July 1, 2015

The recent report of Riverside Community College student testing positive for active tuberculosis has some Riverside County residents asking questions.

The good news is – knowledge is power. So, let’s take a moment to explore some of the causes and symptoms of this disease and what you can do to protect yourself.

First, tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that typically attacks the lungs, but it can also attack other parts of the body including the kidney, spine and brain.

The tricky thing is that TB is spread through the air from one person to another. Sneezes, wheezes and coughs can send the bacteria into the air.

So, yes, TB is serious. And if it’s not treated properly, it can be fatal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms can include: a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

What should you do if you suspect you have been exposed to TB or are exhibiting symptoms of TB?  Contact your health care provider.

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