Tips for a Healthy Fall

Follow these tips to help you and your family stay safe and healthy during this season. 

Take steps to prevent the flu.

The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year in the fall. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often. Stay home if you get sick.

Get smart about antibiotics.

Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. The common cold and the flu are viral infections, so avoid using antibiotics if you have one of these. Using antibiotics when they are not needed causes some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, and therefore stronger and harder to kill. See your doctor or nurse to find out if your illness is bacterial or viral.

Have a safe and healthy Halloween.

Make Halloween festivities fun, safe, and healthy for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Test and replace batteries.

Check or replace carbon monoxide batteries twice a year: when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Replace smoke alarm alkaline batteries at least once a year. Test alarms every month to ensure they work properly.

Keep food safe.

Food is center stage during the holidays. Be sure to keep it safe by following basic food safety steps. Clean hands and surfaces often. Separate foods to avoid cross-contamination. Cook to proper temperatures. Chill promptly.

Be prepared for cold weather.

Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. Know how to prevent health problems and what to do if a cold-weather emergency arises. Remember that using space heaters and fireplaces can increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Don’t drink and drive.

Alcohol use impairs skills needed to drive a car safely. It slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination. Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 48 minutes. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others drink and drive.

Wash your hands.

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It’s best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. If that’s not possible, use alcohol-based hand rubs.

Always buy food in season.

With the arrival of the new season, now is the time to change your diet! Embrace the yummy foods that Fall offers. Enjoy fresh pumpkins, parsnips, yams, winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, apples, pears, figs, elderberries and even cranberries!

Eat your autumn colors!

Fall is the season of warm, earthy colors; think deep greens, dark yellows and brilliant oranges.

When you eat foods that are rich in these colors, you are absorbing the vibrational energy of the earth. Fall foods are vibrant, colorful and nourishing. One rule of thumb is that the more colorful the fruit, the better it is for your health and your immune system. 

Boost your immune system.

With the changing season, now is the perfect time to boost your immune system.

Whenever you feel the need for a boost to your immune system, go for some natural products. Like natural immune-boosters : to drink plenty of fresh water, eat plenty of alive (living) raw foods, garlic, lysine, probiotics, Vitamins B, C and D, and zinc

Another powerful way to boost your immune system and keep strong is to use the power of gentle exercise. This brings me to my next point, tip number 4.

Embrace gentle movements.

In summer, it's so lovely to spend time outside. For many, this sunny weather allows them to move their body naturally, using gentle movements such as walking on the beach. 

But, don’t let cooler temperatures stop you from moving your body! Far too many people stop exercising and spend more time doing sedentary activities indoors. 

One way you can keep moving during the cooler season is to bring your activity inside: bounce on a rebounder, do yoga at home, get a yoga swing, swim, go to the gym or find a dancing class!

Find an enjoyable way to gently move your body, so that this year you keep yourself fit and healthy. (Think about how next Summer will be even more enjoyable!)

Live aligned with the season.

As the season shifts, give yourself permission to make different choices and changes in your lifestyle.

The shorter days and longer nights are the perfect excuse to take the time to really look after yourself.  

Spend time relaxing at home, wrapped up with a hot water bottle, wearing your favorite pajamas and enjoying early nights. Watch movies, drink chai tea, or start writing that book you’ve always dreamt about writing.

Fall is a nice time to slow down and enjoy some internal reflection. Allow this season to be a chance to nurture yourself by eating fresh seasonal foods and living in alignment with nature. 



Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.  Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.

Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite)

  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash:
  • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
  • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
  • Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
  • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
  • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull's-eye” appearance
  • May appear on any area of the body 

Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Facial or Bell's palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Problems with short-term memory


Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

In a small percentage of cases, these symptoms can last for more than 6 months. Although sometimes called "chronic Lyme disease," this condition is properly known as "Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome" (PTLDS). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease which show that most patients recover when treated with a few weeks of antibiotics taken by mouth. For details on research into what is sometimes referred to as “chronic Lyme disease” and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the NIH Lyme Disease web site.


National Suicide Prevention Week 2015

Sponsored by American Association of Suicidology, National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) strives to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide by informing and engaging around the topic of suicide prevention, encouraging mental health treatment, and educating on warning signs and risk factors of suicide.

With their mission being "advancing mental health, overcoming mental illness, and eliminating stigma", the APF feels that supporting NSPW helps us achieve our vision of creating a mentally healthy nation. Studies show that 90%, if not more, of those who die by suicide had a mental disorder at the time of their death, though it is often unrecognized, undiagnosed, or untreated (or potentially under-treated).

About Suicide

Suicide is a major public health concern. More than 36,000 individuals die by suicide each year, in the US alone. If you do the math, that's approximately 100 deaths per day or about four deaths per hour. Extrapolated across the world, those estimates jump drastically, to an estimated one million individuals dying each year by suicide, translating to one death every 40 seconds.

It seems like such an overwhelming, and tragic problem. And it is. But you can be part of the solution.

The first step is to know the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. There are many organizations that list risk factors and warning signs of mental illness: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Association of Suicidology, SAVE, WebMD, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, among others.  

Key warning signs on each of these lists include statements of wanting to die, expressions of feelings of hopelessness or having no reasons to live, making arrangements for end of life, and social isolation.

The second step is to know what to do if you see these warning signs. Though you should take the time to read the more detailed lists at each of these links, keep in mind the following: be direct and create a safe, non-judgmental space for an open dialogue; do not leave a person threatening suicide or making specific plans for suicide alone; encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional (take the person to the emergency room, or call 911 if an immediate threat is present); call or visit the website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get assistance for yourself, or for helping another; ask non-judgmental and non-confrontational questions; take the person's thoughts, actions, and emotions seriously and let them know you are concerned about them.

Read more:

Skin Cancer-Types, Symptoms & Risk Factors

Skin Cancer, the abnormal growth of skin cells most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas that are not often exposed to the sun.

There are three major types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, and Melanoma.

You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by reducing the or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking you skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for a successful skin cancer treatment.

Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. When melanoma occurs in people with dark skin tones, its more likely in the areas not normally exposed to the sun, such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.


Basal Cell Carcinoma signs and symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck or your face.

Basal cell carcinoma may appear as:

  • A pearly or waxy bump
  • A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesions

Squamous Cell Carcinoma signs and symptoms

Most often, squamous cell carcinoma occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as face, ears and hands. People with more darker skin tones are more likely to develop squamous on areas that are not often exposed to the sun.

Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:

  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a scaly crusted surface.

Melanoma signs and symptoms

Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, in otherwise normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma most often appears on the face or the trunk of the affected men. In women, the type of skin cancer often develops on the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on the skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma can affect people of any skin tone. In people with darker skin tones, melanoma tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails.

Melanoma signs include:

  • A large brownish spot with darker speckles.
  • A mole that changes in color, size or feel, or that bleeds.
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue, or blue-black.
  • Dark lesions on the palms, soles, fingertips, or toes, or on mucous membranes lining the mouth, nose, vagina or anus.

Signs and symptoms of less common skin cancers

Other, less common types of skin cancer include:

Kaposi Sarcoma: this rare form of skin cancer develops in the skin blood vessels and causes red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes.

Kaposi Sarcoma mainly occurs on people with weakened immune systems, such as people with AIDS, and in people taking medications to suppress their natural immunity, such as people you’ve undergone organ transplants. Other people with an increased risk of Kaposi Sarcoma include young men living in Africa or older men of Italian or Eastern European Jewish heritage.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel Cell Carcinoma causes firm, shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Merkel cell carcinoma is most often found on the neck, trunk and head.

Sebaceous Gland Carcinoma

This uncommon and aggressive cancer originates in the oil glands in the skin. Sebaceous gland carcinoma-which usually appears as hard, painless nodules- can develop anywhere, but most occur on the eyelid, where they are frequently mistaken for other eyelid problems.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of developing skin cancer includes:

Fair Skin Anyone, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer. However, having less pigmented (melanin) in your skin provides less protection form damaging UV radiation. If you have blond or red hair, and light-colored eyes, and you freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop skin cancer than is a person with a darker skin tone.

A history of sunburns Having had one or more blistering sunburns as a child or teenager increases your risks of developing skin cancer as an adult. Sunburns in adulthood are also a risk factor.

Excessive sun exposure Anyone who spends considerable time in the sun may develop skin cancer, especially if the skin is not protected by sunscreen or clothing.

Sunny or high-altitude climates People who live in sunny, warm climates are exposed to more sunlight than other people who live in colder climates. Living at higher elevations, where the sun is the strongest, also exposes you to more radiation.

Moles People who have many moles or abnormal moles called dysplastic nevi are at increased risk of cancer. These abnormal moles - which often look irregular and generally larger than normal moles - are more likely than others to become cancerous. If you have a history of abnormal moles, watch them regularly for any abnormal changes.

Precancerous skin lesions Having skin lesions known as actinic keratosis can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. These precancerous skin growths typically appear as rough, scaly patches that range in color from brown to dark pink. They are most common on the face, head, and hands of fair-skinned people whose skin has been sun damaged.

A family history of skin cancer If one of your parents or a sibling has had skin cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease.

A personal history of skin cancer If you developed skin cancer once, you're at risk of developing it again.

A weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. This includes people living with HIV/AIDS and those taking immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant.

Exposure to radiation People who received radiation treatment for skin conditions such as eczema and acne may have an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly basal cell carcinoma.

Exposure to certain substances Exposure to certain substances, such as arsenic, may increase your risk of skin cancer.

Fall Allergies

It’s fall, and the blooms of summer have faded. So how come you’re still sneezing? Fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as you have in spring and summer.

What Causes Fall Allergies?

Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall. Though the weed usually starts releasing pollen with cool nights and warm days in August, it can last into September and October. About three-quarters of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed.

Ragweed pollen loves to get around. Even if it doesn't grow where you live, it can still travel for hundreds of miles on the wind. For some people who are allergic to ragweed, foods like bananas, melon, zucchini, and certain other fruits and vegetables can also cause symptoms.

Mold is another fall trigger. You may think of mold growing in your basement or bathroom – damp areas in the house – but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.

Don’t forget dust mites. While they are common during the humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. Dust mites can trigger sneezes, wheezes, and runny noses.

Going back to school can also trigger allergies in kids because mold and dust mites are common in schools.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

How Are Fall Allergies Diagnosed?

Your doctor or allergist can help find out exactly what’s causing your watery, itchy eyes and runny nose. He'll talk to you about your medical history and symptoms, and may recommend a skin test.

With a skin test, the doctor places a tiny amount of the allergen on your skin -- usually on your back or forearm -- and then pricks or scratches the skin underneath. If you're allergic to it, you’ll get a small, raised bump that itches like a mosquito bite.

Sometimes a blood test may be used to diagnose allergies.

How Can I Treat My Allergies?

There are many medications you can use:

  • Steroid nasal sprays – reduce inflammation in your nose
  • Antihistamines – help stop sneezing, sniffling, and itching
  • Decongestants – help relieve stuffiness and dry up the mucus in of your nose
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots or oral tablets or drops

You can buy some allergy medications without a prescription, but it's a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure you choose the right one. Decongestant nasal sprays, for example, should only be used for three days. If you use them longer, you may actually get more congested. And if you have high blood pressure, some allergy drugs may not be right for you.

Tips to Manage Symptoms

Stay indoors with the doors and windows closed when pollen is at its peak (usually in the late morning or midday). Check pollen counts in your area.

Before you turn on your heat for the first time, clean your heating vents and change the filter. Bits of mold and other allergens can get trapped in the vents over the summer and will fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.

Use a HEPA filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air.

Use a dehumidifier if you need to, to keep your air at between 35% and 50% humidity.

Wear a mask when you rake leaves so you don't breathe in mold spores.

Read more:

Best Health Apps for Physicians

We live in a digital age, where most of our actions are carried out via our smartphones. As the world continues to become more health-conscious, consumers are taking advantage of smartphones to manage and improve their own health, but healthcare professionals are also seeing the benefits of mobile health (mHealth) apps geared towards improving their practice. 

  • Epocrates

This is the gold standard of medical apps. With millions of downloads across the country, doctors are using this app to look up drug information and interactions, find other providers for consults and referrals, and quickly calculate patient measurements like BMI.

While the app itself and most of its content is free, access to additional information and functionality (like lab guides, alternative medications, and disease information) requires an in-app purchase of Epocrates Essentials for $159.99 a year.

  • UpToDate

Hundreds of thousands of physicians have installed this app, and for good reason.  It is full of medical knowledge and answers clinical questions at the point of need.

However, it’s also not cheap.  While downloading the app is free, in order to actually access the wealth of information contained within it, you or your organization needs to have a subscription to the UpToDate database. This starts at $499 a year for an individual physician.

  • Doximity

This is the official app for the social network for doctors.  Doximity claims 40% of U.S. Physicians are members (joining is free) and this app allows you to access the network on the go. You can find and communicate with other doctors on the network, send HIPAA-secure faxes through your phone, and follow news and trends in your specialty.

The app is free to download, but does require you to sign up for membership in the network.

  • Read by QxMD

Read is an app that centralizes all your medical literature and journals.  Using a magazine format, it allows you to read and download studies, journals, and articles from a host of sources including open access journals, Pubmed, and papers from linked institutions.

With tens of thousands of installs, and plenty of free content this is a no-brainer for physicians looking to keep current in their specialty.  The app is free, but some journals and Pubmed may require an institutional or individual subscription or credentials.

  • NEJM This Week

Access recent articles, view images of medical conditions, and listen to audio and video summaries of articles with this app from the trusted New England Journal of Medicine.  Available only for iOS devices, this app also includes videos of medical procedures, and reports on recent research findings.

This app is totally free to download and access.

  • Isabel

Isabel is a diagnosis assistance app. With its results validated by studies which have been peer reviewed in dozens of different medical journals, this app is a solid way for any physician to double check their diagnoses.  Isabel’s database includes over 6,000 disease presentations and symptoms, and the ability to refine results by age, gender, and travel history.

This app does require online access, however, and while the app itself is free, in order to use any of its functionality and data you need to purchase a monthly subscription of $10.99, or an annual one of $119.99.

  • Figure 1 – Medical Images

View and share medical images with other physicians using this free iOS and Android app.  Hundreds of thousands of users send, comment on, and search through medical images in Figure 1’s visual database.  This app is perfect for physicians looking for feedback on a rare condition, or seeking to see and learn about rare or textbook cases.  Additionally, the app guarantees patient privacy with automatic face-blocking and removal of identifying information.

This app is free to download and use.

  • DynaMed Mobile

In both iOS and Android flavors, this app brings the powerful DynaMed reference database to mobile.  Subscribers to DynaMed ($395 a year for an individual physician) will get the full functionality of the decision support tool on their smartphone or other device.

Functionality includes disease references, point of care information, and summaries of over 3,400 different topics, with constant updates as DynaMed’s team looks over new studies and evidence to add to the database.

  • Medscape

This app, by WebMD, is another great medical reference tool offered on iOS and Android.  The app is completely free, but does require you to register for a free account (which you can do through the app itself) to use it.  Once done, you can look up medications and drugs, check the disease reference tool, catch up on medical news, and much more.

  • Virtual Practice for Doctors

A free, mobile-based EMR, this app is accessible through iOS and Android devices, as well as online.  Both the app and service are free, though you can upgrade to a premium version with advanced features like a patient portal and custom domain.  However, the free version offers a great avenue to communicate with patients outside the office, and includes video chat, remote patient monitoring, and the ability to answer typed patient questions.


Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Physicians and Medical Practices

Social media gives health professionals an opportunity to tell their stories. Doctor have the most to gain by properly using social media to market their practice. They can share years of experience, dispel myths and join discussions with colleagues in the industry.

Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Physicians and Medical Practices.

  • Physicians should keep their professional and personal personas separate. Physicians should not “friend” or contact patients through personal social media.
  • Physicians should not use text messaging for medical interactions even with an established patient except with extreme caution and consent by the patient.
  • E-mail or other electronic communications should only be used by physicians within an established patient-physician relationship and with patient consent.
  • Situations in which a physician is approached through electronic means for clinical advice in the absence of a patient-physician relationship should be handled with judgment and usually should be addressed with encouragement that the individual schedule an office visit or, in the case of an urgent matter, go to the nearest emergency department.
  • Establishing a professional profile so that it “appears” first during a search, instead of a physician-ranking site, can provide some measure of control that the information read by patients prior to the initial encounter or thereafter is accurate.

Thunderstorm & Hurricane Safety Tips

A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by severe thunderstorms despite advance warning. While some did not hear the warning, others heard the warning and did not pay attention to it. The information in this section, combined with timely watches and warnings about severe weather, may help save lives.

Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes.

Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly.

Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures

To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

Know your surroundings.

Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.

Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you. Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

Make plans to secure your property

  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Another year-round option would be installation of laminated glass with impact-resistant glazing. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, when high winds are present, be prepared to take shelter on a lower floor because wind conditions increase with height, and in a small interior room without windows. When flooding may be occurring, be prepared to take shelter on a floor safely above the flooding and wave effects.
  • Consider building a safe room.
  • Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.
During a Hurricane

  • If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency.
  • You should evacuate under the following conditions:
  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
  • Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.
After a Hurricane

  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American
  • Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site:
  • Emergency Family Registry and Locator System which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster
  • The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas,floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Contact Lens Health Week 2015

The week of August 24-28, 2015, marks the second annual Contact Lens Health Week! This year’s campaign theme is “Healthy habits mean healthy eyes.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners created Contact Lens Health Week in 2014 to promote healthy contact lens wear and care practices that can help prevent eye infections associated with improper contact lens use. Contact Lens Health Week 2015 was moved to August to coincide with “back to school” health promotion efforts. This year’s campaign primarily targets teenage contact lens wearers, their parents, and eye care providers, but also includes messages and materials suitable for all contact lens wearers. As teens head back to school, reinforcing proper contact lens wear and care can promote good vision and healthy eyes throughout the school year and throughout life.

On August 20, CDC released a report that found more than 99% of contact lens wearers may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections. The results presented in this report highlight the need for education efforts to improve contact lens hygiene behaviors. We encourage eye care providers, parents, college campus organizations, public health practitioners, and contact lens industry representatives to help us relay campaign messages to teenage contact lens wearers of all ages.

The results presented in this report highlight the need for education efforts to improve contact lens hygiene behaviors, we all need to encourage eye care providers, parents, college campus organizations, public health practitioners, and contact lens industry representatives to help us relay campaign messages to teenage contact lens wearers.

Contact Lenses Hygiene Recommendations

  • Always wash and dry your contact lenses.
  • Store lenses in proper lens storage case and replace your case after several months (3 months or sooner is the recommended time frame).
  • Clean contact lenses case after each use. Keep it open and dry between cleanings.
  • Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub
  • Remove contact lenses before falling asleep.
  • See you eye doctor for regular contact lenses and eye examinations.
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens placement schedule as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Use only fresh solutions to clean your lenses, never re-use old solutions. Contact lenses solutions must be changed according to the manufacturers recommendations, even if the contact lenses are not used on a daily basis.

CDC has developed a number of tools and materials to help promote Contact Lens Health Week and healthy contact lens wear and care throughout the year.

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Image source: Flickr. Author: Lenore Edman This image has been modified. 

Virtual Visits Benefit Patients as Well as Physicians

Telemedicine is expanding and may soon redefine modern health care. With the aid of wearable health monitors, computers, and video, doctors will be able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat you—all without your physical presence in their office.

The traditional medical appointment is not “convenient” for everybody. Most patients dislike long waits at the doctor's office. Virtual visits can save you travel time and the hassle of sitting in a waiting room with other sick people. 

If you have a busy schedule, virtual doctor visits are perfect for you. All you have to do is: log on, pay a fee and a doctor will be right there to answer your questions about sore throats, sprains, rashes, earaches, headaches and other conditions.

Virtual doctor’s visits from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop are becoming more than a trend, providing opportunities to keep people healthy and outside of hospitals.

Some Benefits of Virtual Visits Include:

For Patients:

  • Have better outcomes because of faster access to specialists who can apply the highest standards of care associated with their clinical discipline when evaluating the patient.
  • Reduce unnecessary admissions and/or readmissions when through remote monitoring or remote consultations with clinicians, they are able to better manage their health situations while at home.
  • Avoid unnecessary transfers to another facility or other physicians.
  • With virtual visits a specialist can determine if the patient’s best care option is to stay local and allowing patients to remain closer to the support network of family and friends.
  • You can send a digital image of a suspicious rash, along with your medical history, to a dermatologist, who will review it, diagnose, and prescribe medication to treat it.
  • You can check-in with your doctor after surgery for follow-up care in your own home.
  • If you have diabetes, you can monitor your blood sugar levels at home and upload the readings to your doctor's computer, saving yourself a time-consuming visit. Irregular blood sugar levels would generate an alert to the doctor's staff to call you in for immediate intervention to prevent complications.
  • If you have hypertension, you can wear a monitor that tracks your blood pressure daily and transmits your results to your medical record, allowing your doctor to track your progress.

For Physicians:

  • Extend their clinical reach to patients who can benefit from their expertise.
  • In some cases, earn on-call pay for providing virtual consultations.
  • Save time traveling between facilities to see patients, increasing their productivity and improving their quality of life.