Monday, August 31, 2009

Featured Health Article Program

How does it work?

Through our Featured Health Article Program, offers an opportunity for writers to submit an article or personal story to our e-newsletter, Healthy Women Today. The articles cover a variety of health topics, but we normally highlight one of the month's National Health Observances. For example, we might cover breast cancer during September, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Here are some things to consider:

  • The article should be consumer friendly and should address a women's health issue or a general health issue that women may be interested in reading.
  • The article should be around 500-1500 words.
  • It can be a previously published article.
  • You do not have to be a professional writer to contribute to the program.
  • We often feature a chapter or the introduction from a publication on women's health.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How Influenza Viruses Change

Influenza viruses are dynamic and are continuously evolving. Influenza viruses can change in two different ways: antigenic drift and antigenic shift. Influenza viruses are changing by antigenic drift all the time, but antigenic shift happens only occasionally. Influenza type A viruses undergo both kinds of changes; influenza type B viruses change only by the more gradual process of antigenic drift.

Antigenic drift refers to small, gradual changes that occur through point mutations in the two genes that contain the genetic material to produce the main surface proteins, hemagglutinin, and neuraminidase. These point mutations occur unpredictably and result in minor changes to these surface proteins. Antigenic drift produces new virus strains that may not be recognized by antibodies to earlier influenza strains. This process works as follows: a person infected with a particular influenza virus strain develops antibody against that strain. As newer virus strains appear, the antibodies against the older strains might not recognize the "newer" virus, and infection with a new strain can occur. This is one of the main reasons why people can become infected with influenza viruses more than one time and why global surveillance is critical in order to monitor the evolution of human influenza virus stains for selection of which strains should be included in the annual production of influenza vaccine. In most years, one or two of the three virus strains in the influenza vaccine are updated to keep up with the changes in the circulating influenza viruses. For this reason, people who want to be immunized against influenza need to be vaccinated every year.

Antigenic shift refers to an abrupt, major change to produce a novel influenza A virus subtype in humans that was not currently circulating among people (see more information below under Influenza Type A and Its Subtypes). Antigenic shift can occur either through direct animal (poultry)-to-human transmission or through mixing of human influenza A and animal influenza A virus genes to create a new human influenza A subtype virus through a process called genetic reassortment. Antigenic shift results in a new human influenza A subtype. A global influenza pandemic (worldwide spread) may occur if three conditions are met:

  • A new subtype of influenza A virus is introduced into the human population.
  • The virus causes serious illness in humans.
  • The virus can spread easily from person to person in a sustained manner.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)

What is canine influenza (dog flu)?
Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.

What is a canine influenza virus?
The “canine influenza virus” is an influenza A H3N8 influenza virus (not a human influenza virus) that was originally an equine (horse) influenza virus. This virus has spread to dogs and can now spread between dogs.

How long has canine influenza been around?
The H3N8 equine influenza virus has been known to exist in horses for more than 40 years. In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus. Scientists believe that this virus jumped species (from horses to dogs) and has now adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread efficiently among dogs. This is now considered a new dog-specific lineage of H3N8. In September of 2005, this virus was identified by experts as “a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.

What are the symptoms of this infection in dogs?
The symptoms of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever, however, a small proportion of dogs can develop severe disease.

How serious is this infection in dogs?
The number of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no symptoms), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. Although this is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection, about 80 percent of dogs will have a mild form of disease.

How does dog flu spread?
Canine influenza virus can be spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by contact with contaminated objects, and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.

Is there a test for canine influenza?
Testing to confirm canine influenza virus infection is available at veterinary diagnostic centers. The tests can be performed using respiratory secretions collected at the time of disease onset or using two blood samples; the first collected while the animal is sick and the second 2 to 3 weeks later.

How is canine influenza treated?
Treatment largely consists of supportive care. This helps the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?
Recently, a conditional license was granted for a canine influenza virus vaccine for use in dogs in the United States. Administration of the vaccine must be performed under the supervision of a veterinarian.

What is the risk to humans from this virus?
To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza virus from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with the canine influenza virus. While this virus infects dogs and spreads between dogs, there is no evidence that this virus infects humans.

However, human infections with new influenza viruses (against which the human population has little immunity) would be concerning if they occurred. Influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans. Such a virus could represent a pandemic influenza threat. For this reason, CDC and its partners are monitoring the H3N8 influenza virus (as well as other animal influenza viruses) along with instances of possible human exposure to these viruses very closely. In general, however, canine influenza viruses are considered to pose a low threat to humans. As mentioned earlier, while these viruses are well established in horse and dog populations, there is no evidence of infection among humans with this virus.

My dog has a cough what should I do?
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can evaluate your dog and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Health Care Services Provider

Is any business, entity or subdivision thereof, whether public or private, proprietary or not for profit, that is engaged in providing acute, restorative, rehabilitative, maintenance, preventive or health promotion services through professional nursing or another therapeutic service, such as physical therapy, home health aides, nurse assistants, medical social work, nutritionist services, or personal care services, either directly or through contractual agreement, in a patient's/client's place of residence. This term does not apply to any sole practitioner providing private duty nursing services or other restorative, rehabilitative, maintenance, preventative or health promotion services in a patient's/client's place of residence or to municipal entities providing health promotion services in a patient's/client's place of residence. This term does not apply to a federally qualified health center or a rural health clinic as defined in 42 United States Code, Section 1395x, subsection (aa) (1993) that is delivering case management services or health education in a patient's/client's place of residence. Beginning October 1, 1991, "home health care provider" includes any business entity or subdivision there of, whether public or private, proprietary or nonprofit, that is engaged in providing speech pathology services.A Home Health Care Services Provider shall also be referred to as a home health care agency.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spread of H1N1

Spread of H1N1 (swine) flu can occur in two ways:

  • Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
  • Through contact with a person with H1N1 (swine) flu. Human-to-human spread of H1N1 (swine) flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is CDC’s recommendation regarding "swine flu parties"?

"Swine flu parties" are gatherings during which people have close contact with a person who has novel H1N1 flu in order to become infected with the virus. The intent of these parties is for a person to become infected with what for many people has been a mild disease, in the hope of having natural immunity novel H1N1 flu virus that might circulate later and cause more severe disease.

CDC does not recommend "swine flu parties" as a way to protect against novel H1N1 flu in the future. While the disease seen in the current novel H1N1 flu outbreak has been mild for many people, it has been severe and even fatal for others. There is no way to predict with certainty what the outcome will be for an individual or, equally important, for others to whom the intentionally infected person may spread the virus.

CDC recommends that people with novel H1N1 flu avoid contact with others as much as possible. If you are sick with flu-like illness, 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. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anemia of Chronic Disease

Anemia of Chronic Disease (ACD) is a condition of impaired iron utilization where functional iron (hemoglobin) is low but tissue iron (such as in storage) is normal or high. ACD is seen in a wide range of chronic malignant, autoimmune, leukemic, inflammatory, and infectious disease conditions.

In rheumatoid arthritis there is frequently co-existence of ACD and iron deficiency anemia resulting from gastrointestinal bleeding due to drug therapy. ACD, also known as hypoferremia of inflammatory disease and anemia of inflammation, is often diagnosed as mild iron deficiency anemia.

Risk Group: The elderly are among the highest risk group for anemia of chronic disease, but anyone regardless of age who has chronic inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or infection can be at risk.


Anemia of chronic disease can be present in numerous situations associated with inflammation, infection, and cancer. When infection, fever--even mild, or history of cancer or suspicion of cancer is present with low hemoglobin but elevated ferritin, anemia of chronic disease should be considered.


When ACD is suspect fasting serum iron will be low, serum ferritin elevated, transferrin iron saturation percentage low, total iron binding capacity low, transferrin low and the serum transferrin receptor normal.


The cause of anemia will dictate treatment. Once inflammation, infection or presence of pathogen is identified and treated, anemia may be resolved. In cases where cancer is the cause of anemia, cancer treatment and therapy take priority over removal of iron that has resulted from transfusion or infusion.

Supplementation with iron for those with ACD is not warranted until the underlying cause of disease is cured. Harmful pathogen are nourished by iron and cancer cells require iron to grow and proliferate.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Is an Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia (ah-RITH-me-ah) is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

A heartbeat that is too fast is called tachycardia (TAK-ih-KAR-de-ah). A heartbeat that is too slow is called bradycardia (bray-de-KAR-de-ah).

Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can be serious or even life threatening. When the heart rate is too fast, too slow, or irregular, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body. Lack of blood flow can damage the brain, heart, and other organs.

Understanding the Heart's Electrical System

To understand arrhythmias, it helps to understand the heart's internal electrical system. The heart's electrical system controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat.

With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.

Each electrical signal begins in a group of cells called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. The SA node is located in the right atrium (AY-tree-um), which is the upper right chamber of the heart. In a healthy adult heart at rest, the SA node fires off an electrical signal to begin a new heartbeat 60 to 100 times a minute.

From the SA node, the electrical signal travels through special pathways in the right and left atria. This causes the atria to contract and pump blood into the heart's two lower chambers, the ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls).

The electrical signal then moves down to a group of cells called the atrioventricular (AV) node, located between the atria and the ventricles. Here, the signal slows down just a little, allowing the ventricles time to finish filling with blood.

The electrical signal then leaves the AV node and travels along a pathway called the bundle of His. This pathway divides into a right bundle branch and a left bundle branch. The signal goes down these branches to the ventricles, causing them to contract and pump blood out to the lungs and the rest of the body.

The ventricles then relax, and the heartbeat process starts all over again in the SA node.

A problem with any part of this process can cause an arrhythmia. For example, in atrial fibrillation, a common type of arrhythmia, electrical signals travel through the atria in a fast and disorganized way. This causes the atria to quiver instead of contract.


There are many types of arrhythmia. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some are not. The outlook for a person who has an arrhythmia depends on the type and severity of the arrhythmia.

Even serious arrhythmias often can be successfully treated. Most people who have arrhythmias are able to live normal, healthy lives.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) was originally established as the American Society for the Control of Cancer in 1913, and became the ACS in 1945. ACS is the voluntary organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. It conducts and supports programs of research, education, and service to the cancer patient. The Society's immediate goal of saving more lives is served through educating the public about prevention and early detection of cancer, the importance of prompt treatment, and the possibilities of cure, through educating the medical profession to the latest advances in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and through direct service to the cancer patient and the patient's family. Public education activities include a toll-free cancer information services publication of a variety of pamphlets, educational programs conducted in schools and communities, and presentation of materials in the mass media. The Society has a comprehensive professional education program designed to motivate physicians, dentists, and nurses to use the best cancer management techniques. The Society conducts service and rehabilitation programs for cancer patients and their families. ACS supports cancer research through several types of research grants and disseminates the research results. ACS has 17 divisions as well as over 3400 local units.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Symptoms & When to Get Medical Help


The symptoms of this new H1N1 swine flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of sick people also reported diarrhea and vomiting.

The high-risk groups for this new flu are not known at this time, but they may be the same as for seasonal influenza. People at higher risk of serious complications from seasonal flu include

When to Get Medical Help

For Children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

For adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

Monday, August 17, 2009

United States plan to implement exit screening for travelers for Swine Flu

At this time, screening travelers moving from the United States to other countries may be of very little public health benefit, as disease has been reported in more than 100 countries throughout the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend entry or exit screening because the virus has already been confirmed in many parts of the world.

Given that this is a novel strain of the influenza virus to which most persons are likely susceptible, the Administration and the CDC continues to aggressively perform surveillance for changes in the epidemiology or the strain of the novel H1N1 flu virus. In addition the Administration is focusing efforts on slowing the spread within communities, communicating health information and infection control messages to the public, and recommending that people stay home and do not travel when they are sick.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prevent the spread of illness?

All Americans share in the responsibility to plan for this fall’s flu season. Given the unique combination of regular seasonal flu , as well as the H1N1 virus, it’s important for every and take action to reduce the transmission of influenza. American families and businesses should prepare their own household and business plans and think through the steps they will need to take if a family member or a co-worker contracts the flu. We ask all Americans to visit our website at FLU.GOV to find information that will help them take the necessary steps to prepare for flu season and limit the spread of the flu virus. Here are some everyday actions that you and your family can take to stay healthy.

  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Follow the advice of your local public health department regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to reduce flu transmission. These measures will continue to be important after a novel H1N1 vaccine is available because they can prevent the spread of other viruses that cause respiratory infections.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swine flu vaccine

As swine flu is a new virus, a new vaccine had to be developed to deal with it.

The first batch of the vaccine is expected to be available by the end of August, with 60 million doses of the swine flu vaccine expected to be available by the end of the year.

The government has ordered enough vaccine for the whole population, but to reduce the impact of swine flu those at greatest risk will be given priority.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pregnancy with Swine Flu

While most pregnant women with swine flu will only have mild symptoms like most other people, there is a higher risk of developing complications. If you are pregnant and think you may have swine flu, call your GP.

Pregnant women with swine flu may be given an antiviral drug called Relenza. Relenza is taken through an inhaler rather than a tablet. This means it builds up in your throat and lungs but not in your blood or placenta and should not affect your baby.

The Chief Medical Officer issued this advice on 20 July:

Some pregnant women who catch the swine flu virus will develop complications of the infection (including pneumonia) that could put their own and their baby’s health at risk. The risks are greatest in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It is too early in the pandemic of influenza to be able to quantify these risks for the individual but most pregnant women who catch the disease are likely to make an uncomplicated recovery.

Bearing these risks in mind, at present, mothers-to-be are not advised to curtail normal activities such as going to work, travelling on public transport, or attending events and family gatherings.

They are advised to take the following steps to reduce their risk of infection and complications:

  • observe good hand hygiene (frequent use of soap and water or sanitizer)
  • wherever possible, avoid contact with someone who is known or suspected to have swine flu
  • if they have flu-like symptoms, to make early contact with their General Practitioner who may advise treatment with antiviral drugs

Some mothers-to-be may wish to continue their day-to-day activities but exercise their choice now, on a highly precautionary basis, to avoid large densely populated gatherings where they have little control over personal contact.

When the pandemic reaches its height (probably in the autumn) as many as 1 in 3 people may be affected. At that point, the Chief Medical Officer may make a more specific recommendation to mothers-to-be and others (such as those on chemotherapy) with weakened immune systems to avoid densely populated gatherings.

There is no need for other family members (partners and children) to take special precautions but they should also practise good hygiene.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Antiviral Drugs For Swine Flu

Swine flu is being treated with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza. Antiviral drugs work by preventing the flu virus from reproducing - to be effective you need to take them within 48 hours of the symptoms beginning. This can reduce the risk of complications and possibly shorten the illness by a day.

If the National Pandemic Flu Service or your GP confirm you have swine flu, you will be told where your nearest antiviral collection point is so your 'flu friend' - a friend or relative who does not have swine flu - can pick up antiviral drugs for you.

Adverse reactions to Tamiflu

In some cases, antiviral medicine can cause side effects, such as:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • stomach ache
  • headache

Even if you do feel these symptoms it is important that those prescribed antiviral medicine complete the course, even if symptoms of swine flu clear and you start to feel better quickly.

Should young children be treated with Tamiflu?

The review that said children should not be treated with Tamiflu was based on seasonal flu and not swine flu.

The authors admitted that it is uncertain how much the findings of that review apply to swine flu. After all, swine flu behaves differently to seasonal flu, and past pandemics have hit younger people hardest.

All people suffering from swine flu, including young children, will continue to be offered antivirals.

Buying Tamiflu

There is no need to jump the queue or pay for antivirals. They are free on the NHS and being offered to anyone who needs them. Anyone who buys antivirals online could be in danger of getting fake or substandard medicines.

Online sales are investigated and those who abuse the system for profit could get up to ten years in prison for attempting to obtain and sell medicines illegally.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Indianapolis Nice place to visit

Visit White River Gardens, home to the 65-foot-tall, 5,000-square-foot enclosed Hilbert Conservatory and more than 1,000 varieties of colorful plants in the outdoor DeHaan Tiergartend. This landmark botanical attraction combines the best of gardening ideas, plant information and inspirational design to please visitors of any age. This ticket will also allow you to visit the Indianapolis Zoo where you can walk into the only underwater dolphin adventure and interact with the playful and fun dolphins. The Oceans building has just opened featuring polar bears, penguins, seahorses, and a large shark touch tank.

Explore the worlds of art, science and culture up close and hands-on at the Indiana State Museum. Bring the family and discover three floors of permanent and special exhibits ranging from the birth of the Earth to the 21st century. Shiver in the Ice Age, try your hand at pioneer chores and play Future Quest, an interactive game that shows how the choices we make today affect Indiana’s future.

Step out West without leaving the Midwest by visiting the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Young and old will delight in the museum’s traditional and contemporary art and artifacts and shoppers will enjoy the treasures found at White River Trader in the museum. The museum’s expansion project doubled their space with outdoor gardens, unique interactive experiences and a restaurant featuring southwestern favorites.

This package is available when you reserve a room at the Courtyard at the Capitol and the Marriott Downtown Indianapolis. These two hotels are just a few blocks from White River State Park.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hand Washing Gives Protection to Human Life

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before preparing or eating food
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling an animal or animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

When washing hands with soap and water:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
  • Rinse hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
Main Points To Remember:

If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.

When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Healthy Swimming in Summer

Summer time means fun in the sun, and plenty of fun and games in the water - but did you know that germs could contaminate swimming water? Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are spread by swimming in contaminated recreational waters such as: pools, water parks, lakes, and the ocean. Germs causing RWIs can be killed by chlorine, but it doesn't work right away. It takes time to kill germs, and some are resistant to chlorine and can live in pools for days. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your family from RWIs.

Swimmer's Ear

"Swimmer's Ear" is an infection of the ear and/or outer ear canal, which can cause the ear to itch or become red and inflamed. More common in children and young adults, movement or touching the ear can be extremely painful. Reduce your risk of getting Swimmer's Ear:

  • Dry your ears after swimming.
  • Check with the pool staff about the chlorine and pH-testing program at the pool. Those with good control are unlikely to spread Swimmer's Ear.
  • Avoid swimming in locations that may have been closed because of pollution.
  • Avoid putting objects (e.g. fingers, cotton swabs) in your ear that may scratch the ear canal and provide a site for infection.

Swimmer's Ear can be treated with antibiotic eardrops - contact your doctor if you think you might have Swimmer's Ear.

Swimmer's Itch

"Swimmer's Itch" is a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to infection caused by certain parasites found in contaminated salt or fresh water. You may experience tingling, burning, or itching of the skin. Small reddish pimples may later occur and could develop into blisters. Swimmer's itch cannot be spread from person-to-person, and most cases do not require medical attention. If you have a rash - try not to scratch as this may cause the rash to become infected. You may try the following for relief:

  • Cool compresses
  • Anti-itch lotion; calamine lotion
  • Corticosteroid cream
  • Apply a baking soda paste to the rash

Children are more likely to be affected because they swim, wade, and play in the shallow water (where the parasites are most often found) more than adults, and they do not towel dry themselves when leaving the water. To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch:

  • Avoid swimming in areas where swimmer's itch is a known problem.
  • Do not attract birds by feeding them in areas where people are swimming.
  • Avoid swimming near or wading in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.
  • Towel dry or shower immediately after leaving the water.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

General travel health tips

You should also make extra preparations if you have an existing medical condition.

  • take out adequate Travel Insurance or you could face a huge medical bill if you fall ill and need treatment
  • get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to entitle you to free or discounted healthcare in European countries
  • check the health section of our country travel advice before you travel
  • drink plenty of water in hot climates to avoid dehydration
  • be safe in the sun - use a high-factor sunscreen and avoid excessive sunbathing between 11am - 3pm
  • find out the local emergency services numbers and the number of the local hospital
  • practice safe sex - take condoms with you as quality varies in different countries. HIV and Aids, and other sexually transmitted diseases can be caught worldwide.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suicide Prevention Event

To help bring awareness to suicide prevention, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group (KSPG) and the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (BHDID) are hosting an event at 10 a.m. Aug. 21, at the Frankfort Convention Center, 405 Mero St., Frankfort.

“Times are tough. The economy, job loss, cyberbullying among youth, and post-traumatic stress among military veterans are just some of the issues facing many Kentuckians,” said Jan Ulrich, youth suicide prevention marketing specialist with BHDID. “Extreme stress can affect both physical and mental health, which can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, compulsive behaviors and thoughts of suicide in some individuals.”

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting to hear the inspirational stories of real people who are persevering through grief and loss, and are fighting to make a difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond.

Army Major General Mark Graham and wife Carol Graham will serve as keynote speakers at the event. Motivated by the tragic loss of both of their sons, Kevin, a University of Kentucky ROTC cadet who died by suicide, and Jeffrey, an Army lieutenant and UK graduate who died in Iraq, the Grahams will share their personal story of loss and how they are leading the fight to reduce military suicides.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently nominated Major General Graham, a nationally renowned speaker, for Time magazine's 100 most influential people.

The free event will provide information and resources about how to become involved in the fight to prevent suicide. Several statewide initiatives will be announced, including suicide prevention initiatives targeting the military, colleges, middle and high schools and more.

Registration is required. Register by Aug. 7 call Ulrich at (502) 564-4456.