Helpful Hints/Safety Videos

 

 FLU TIPS

Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu during each flu season, which typically lasts from November to March. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children frequently spread the virus to others. Although most people recover from the illness, CDC estimates that in the United States more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.

When and Where Do People Usually Get the Flu?

Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35-50 million Americans come down with the flu each flu season, which typically lasts from November to March. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get the flu and frequently spread the virus to others. Although most people recover from the illness, CDC estimates that in the U.S. more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.

How is the Flu Transmitted?

You can get the flu if someone around you who has the flu coughs or sneezes, or by touching a surface (like a telephone or door knob) that has been contaminated by someone who has the flu. Flu viruses can pass through the air and can enter your body through your nose or mouth. If you've touched a contaminated surface, they can pass from your hand to your nose or mouth.

You are at the greatest risk of getting infected in highly populated areas, such as in crowded living conditions and in schools.

What are Symptoms of the Flu?

The flu is a contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). It usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches


What about "Stomach Flu"?

Many people use the term "stomach flu" to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, these symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria, or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu - particularly in children - these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

When is the Flu Contagious?

  • A person can spread the flu a day before he or she feels sick
  • Adults can continue to pass the flu virus to others for another three to seven days after symptoms start
  • Children can pass the virus for longer than seven days
  • Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body
  • Some people can be infected but show no symptoms yet still spread the virus to others.


What Can I Do to Prevent the Flu?

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall with a flu shot or using the flu nasal spray vaccine. The nasal spray is approved for use only among healthy people between the ages of 2-49. The flu shot is approved for use among children over six-months-old, healthy people, and even those with chronic medical conditions. The benefits of the vaccine, however, won't take effect immediately.

Three antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, and oseltamivir) have also been approved for prevention of the flu. These drugs are not a substitute for vaccination. They are all prescription drugs and a doctor should be consulted before they are used for preventing the flu.

Aside from the vaccine or anti-viral drugs, there are other ways to protect against flu.

  • Avoid close contact
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick.
  • Clean your hands
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

What if I Get the Flu?

If you develop flu-like symptoms, but you do not have an underlying medical condition:
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink a lot of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Consider taking over-the-counter medications to relieve the symptoms of flu (never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms)
  • Stay home and avoid contact with other people to protect them from catching your illness
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to protect others from your germs.
Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications. However, there are some "emergency warning signs" that require urgent medical attention.

In children, these signs include:

  • High or prolonged fever
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Changes in mental status, such as not waking up or not interacting; being so irritable that the child does not want to be held; or seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions (for example, heart or lung disease, diabetes)
In adults, some emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • High or prolonged fever
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Near-fainting or fainting
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
Seek medical care immediately, either by calling your doctor or going to an emergency room, if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs described above. When you arrive, tell the receptionist or nurse about your symptoms. You may be asked to wear a mask and/or sit in a separate area to protect others from getting sick.

Are There Different Types of Flu Viruses?

The first flu virus was identified in the 1930's. Since then, scientists have classified flu viruses into types A, B, and C.
  • Type A is the most common and usually causes the most serious epidemics
  • Type B outbreaks also can cause epidemics, but the disease it produces generally is milder than that caused by type A
  • Type C viruses, on the other hand, never have been connected with a large epidemic.


What are Possible Complications from the Flu?

You can have flu complications if you get a bacterial infection, which causes pneumonia in your weakened lungs. Pneumonia also can be caused by the flu virus itself.

Symptoms of complications will usually appear after you start feeling better. After a brief period of improvement, you may suddenly get:

  • High fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Chest pain with each breath
  • Coughing that produces thick, yellow-greenish-colored mucus
Pneumonia can be a very serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Are There Other Flu Complications that Only Affect Children?

Reye's syndrome, a condition that affects the nerves, sometimes develops in children and adolescents who are recovering from the flu. Reye's syndrome begins with nausea and vomiting, but the progressive mental changes (such as confusion or delirium) cause the greatest concern.

The syndrome often begins in young people after they take aspirin to get rid of fever or pain. Although very few children develop Reye's syndrome, you should consult a doctor before giving aspirin or products that contain aspirin to children. Acetaminophen does not seem to be associated with Reye's syndrome.

Other complications of the flu that affect children are:

  • Convulsions caused by fever
  • Croup
  • Ear infections, such as otitis media
Newborn babies recently out of intensive care units are particularly vulnerable to suffering from flu complications.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
ASPERGER SYNDROME

Asperger's Syndrome is a term used when a child or adult has some features of autism but may not have the full blown clinical picture. There is some disagreement about where it fits in the PDD spectrum. A few people with Asperger's syndrome are very successful and until recently were not diagnosed with anything but were seen as brilliant, eccentric, absent minded, socially inept, and a little awkward physically.

Although the criteria state no significant delay in the development of language milestones, what you might see is a "different" way of using language. A child may have a wonderful vocabulary and even demonstrate hyperlexia but not truly understand the nuances of language and have difficulty with language pragmatics. Social pragmatics also tend be weak, leading the person to appear to be walking to the beat of a "different drum". Motor dyspraxia can be reflected in a tendency to be clumsy.

In social interaction, many people with Asperger's syndrome demonstrate gaze avoidance and may actually turn away at the same moment as greeting another. The children I have known do desire interaction with others but have trouble knowing how to make it work. They are, however, able to learn social skills much like you or I would learn to play the piano.

There is a general impression that Asperger's syndrome carries with it superior intelligence and a tendency to become very interested in and preoccupied with a particular subject. Often this preoccupation leads to a specific career at which the adult is very successful. At younger ages, one might see the child being a bit more rigid and apprehensive about changes or about adhering to routines. This can lead to a consideration of OCD but it is not the same phenomenon

Many of the weaknesses can be remediated with specific types of therapy aimed at teaching social and pragmatic skills. Anxiety leading to significant rigidity can be also treated medically. Although it is harder, adults with Asperger's can have relationships, families, happy and productive lives.
For more information on Asperger Syndrome,
Asperger's Syndrome is a term used when a child or adult has some features of autism but may not have the full blown clinical picture. There is some disagreement about where it fits in the PDD spectrum. A few people with Asperger's syndrome are very successful and until recently were not diagnosed with anything but were seen as brilliant, eccentric, absent minded, socially inept, and a little awkward physically.

Although the criteria state no significant delay in the development of language milestones, what you might see is a "different" way of using language. A child may have a wonderful vocabulary and even demonstrate hyperlexia but not truly understand the nuances of language and have difficulty with language pragmatics. Social pragmatics also tend be weak, leading the person to appear to be walking to the beat of a "different drum". Motor dyspraxia can be reflected in a tendency to be clumsy.

In social interaction, many people with Asperger's syndrome demonstrate gaze avoidance and may actually turn away at the same moment as greeting another. The children I have known do desire interaction with others but have trouble knowing how to make it work. They are, however, able to learn social skills much like you or I would learn to play the piano.

There is a general impression that Asperger's syndrome carries with it superior intelligence and a tendency to become very interested in and preoccupied with a particular subject. Often this preoccupation leads to a specific career at which the adult is very successful. At younger ages, one might see the child being a bit more rigid and apprehensive about changes or about adhering to routines. This can lead to a consideration of OCD but it is not the same phenomenon

Many of the weaknesses can be remediated with specific types of therapy aimed at teaching social and pragmatic skills. Anxiety leading to significant rigidity can be also treated medically. Although it is harder, adults with Asperger's can have relationships, families, happy and productive lives. For more information concerning Asperger Syndrom please visit
www.aspergersyndrome.org

 
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Top Ten Hurricane Tips

A hurricane's a comin'!

What does that mean exactly? What are the necessary steps that should be taken for hurricane preparedness?

Most things are usually on hand but should be stocked up and easily accessible. If it turns out the hurricane has changed its path, at least you will have known you were ready.

If your city or town is in imminent danger of a hurricane, most likely evacuation announcements have been made, and should be taken seriously. Here is a checklist to consider before you leave:

 

 

1. First, get important papers and special photos in order and secured in plastic. Identification is difficult and time-consuming to replace: so be sure to include social security cards, birth certificates, high school diplomas or GED certificates, titles or deeds to property. Photos of special occasions or loved ones cannot be replaced, so including these is important as well.

2. Think ahead and take video or photos of your property before you leave. This will help later on with any
insurance checklist claims for damage that may need to be filed.

3. If staying with relatives is not an option, consider booking a room in a hotel or motel in another nearby town or state. Make sure to get directions and put them in the car ahead of time. It is easy to forget that piece of paper in the rush out the door. A cheaper route might be to find temporary hurricane shelters. Usually nearby towns not in the direct path of the hurricane will provide these for people in need.

4. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that your pet will have a place in a motel or hotel. Keep this in mind and try to find alternate housing for your loved one until it is safe to return, or check out pet-friendly hotels in your area.

5. Designate a spot, in the hall closet, to keep a bag of clothes for each person in the household. Make sure to include sleeping gear if you plan on going to a temporary shelter.

6. Along with overnight clothes, consider stocking your Hurricane Kit with the following: extra cash, generator, batteries, flash lights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, non-perishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, can opener, a small cooler, candles, prescription medicines and any over-the-counter remedies you use regularly; and if you have small children - diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food.

7. Count on the power being out for at least a day or two. Remember that ATM's will be non-operating, so have at least some hard cash in your Hurricane Kit (see no. 6, above) to see you through the storm.

When TV and computer games no longer operate, board games or a deck of cards come in handy! Arts and crafts, crayons and downloadable coloring pages are always great distractions for the kids - so make sure you've stored some of these supplies in a tote bag or in the car trunk.

8. If you decide to tough out the storm, stay downwind in your home. This means if the wind is hitting the living room windows, go to the room opposite the living room.

9. Plywood is a 'hot' commodity for those of who decide to stay. Boarding up windows that will take the brunt of the wind and rain is the wisest decision. If board is not available, protect your windows from the wind by criss-crossing them with layers of duct or packing tape. This will be enough protection for light-to-medium winds, but learning
how to build and install plywood hurricane shutters is your safest bet. If you can afford it, have them installed by a professional.

10. Finally, STAY INSIDE. However tempting it may be to videotape or take photos of the storm, be sure to shoot from indoors - where it's safe, and dry!

Hurricanes are serious business. Weather forecasters can only predict so much. Educate yourself and stay on top of
weather updates in your area. There is no harm in being overly cautious. In most cases where a hurricane is concerned, it truly is better to be safe than sorry.

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