An Apple a Day

Have a happy, safe and healthy Halloween

October 29, 2015

Halloween is just days away, so here are some reminders that will keep your trick-or-treaters safe this season.

Of course, as a physician I can tell you that the kiddos can and should do without all the pounds of sugary treats. Did you know that children can gain an average of 2.2 pounds of extra weight if they gorge on Halloween candy?

Mom and Dad can get into trouble too. In fact, many credit (or blame) Halloween with the kick-off their annual holiday weight gain.

We want the kids to have fun, though. So, substitute healthy treats where possible or dole out the candy stingily and then after a day or so, considering tossing it, or “sell” it to a neighborhood dentist willing to buy it back and donate to a better cause.

But there are other ways to keep your kids safe when trick-or-treating:

--Be sure to bring a flashlight to make a clear path for your treat-or-treaters.

--Wear reflective badges so that passing vehicles can see your group.

--Only trick-or-treat at houses that have their lights on.

--Travel together with neighbors and friends because there is safety in numbers.

--Check your kids’ bags thoroughly and look for signs that the candy has been tampered with.

--When driving, watch out for the trick-or-treaters hurrying along sidewalks and crossing busy streets.

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

For cancer prevention, add in a dose of moderation

October 27, 2015

Have you read the headlines lately? If you have then you know this week we learned that processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and sausage can contribute to illnesses like cancer. And so does too much sun. And tobacco and smoke. And pollution. And overexposure to radiation.

The fact is science does a great job of discovering vital links to what may cause disease and how to fix it. And the media does a great job of getting the word out there about all the many things that can be harmful to your health.  The problem is sometimes the messages can be confusing.

When it comes to preventing cancer – or any kind of disease – the best thing you can do is to live your life with a healthy dose of moderation:

  • Eat a balanced diet that is big on fruits and vegetables and small on processed foods.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes.
  • You don’t need to be a master bodybuilder to be healthy; just take a brisk walk each day, or spend a few minutes on a treadmill.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Use sunscreen whenever you are outdoors.
  • Stay away from tobacco products.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol use and sugar consumption.
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Schedule regular check-up appointments with your health care provider.

Follow these simple measures and you will not only improve your chances of avoiding a cancer diagnosis, but you may also prevent such diseases as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

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



Get to know your Riverside County Department of Public Health

October 19, 2015

Today kicks off National Health Education Week (NHew) that will run Oct. 19-23, bringing with it a good opportunity to learn about all the vital health advocacy and education programs that have and will continue to shape public health.

Sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), this celebration focuses national attention on a major public health issue and promotes the consumers’ understanding of the role of health education in order to serve the public’s health.

The year’s NHEW will pay tribute to Health Education: Past, Present, and Future with daily themes that include “Health Education Heroes,” “Partnering for Success” and “The Future of Public Health.”

Why is the week so important? Well, there are few things more important than our health -- as individuals and as a community. So, whenever we have the chance to promote health and wellness and learn about the past and current efforts to secure it for the public, then that’s a good thing.

Of course, Riverside County has been fully invested in the health of its residents and visitors with such services as
Injury Prevention and
Emergency Preparedness.

What can you do to celebrate National Health Education Week? Take a moment to explore the County of Riverside Department of Public Health website at to learn about all the health programs available to residents across the county.

Have a question about the best nutrition for your child? Concerned about the flu? Or worried about possible lead exposure? Need help to prepare for a disaster? You’ll find the answers to your questions and a listing of resources 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

The Great California Shake Out offers earthquake reminders

October 15, 2015

If you happened to feel the earth quaking and shaking, it could have been all of the commotion surrounding The Great California Shake Out! An earthquake drill practiced statewide, The Great California Shake Out is an annual event that provides the public the opportunity to practice what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Thousands of Southern California schools, homes and offices participated in the drill, which was planned for 10:15 a.m., including Riverside County employees and various offices and facilities throughout the county supported by the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department.

But, just in case you missed this important exercise, these helpful reminders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer tips on how to reduce your chance of injury from falling objects or building collapse during an earthquake:

Drop down onto your hands and knees before the earthquake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.

Stay inside. Do not run outside or to other rooms during shaking.

Cover your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.

Hold on to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

Do not stand in a doorway. You are safer under a table. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house. The doorway does not protect you from the most likely source of injury−falling or flying objects. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by falling or flying objects (e.g., TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases), or by being knocked to the ground.

To learn more, visit The website offers vital information that will help you to plan for and protect yourself during an earthquake and other emergencies.

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

Stay healthy and avoid the flu

October 13, 2015

Flu season is here and that means it’s time to protect yourself and your family from influenza. There is actually a lot that you can do to keep yourself healthy at this time of year:

Get your flu shot: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Call your health care provider today and make an appointment to get your flu shot.

Wash your hands: Every year, millions of patients become needlessly sickened by an infectious disease. According to the World Health Organization, “most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way.”

Stay home: If you become stricken, by all means stay home so that you will not spread the flu to others. The CDC recommends that you “stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.”

Be hands free: Avoid touching your face whenever possible. This includes your eyes, nose and mouth because those areas are an invitation for germs to spread. So, keep your hands clean and away from your face.

Eat healthy: One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat healthy and keep physically active. Fruits, vegetables and plenty of water and exercise will help to fortify your immune system against illness.

Limit your contact with the flu: This may seem an obvious health measure, but it’s not always easy to do, especially if you are caring for a sick child. Strive to avoid hugs, kisses, hand-shaking and even a pat on the back with someone who is ill.

Stay healthy, Riverside County!

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