New Lab Matters: Sharing the value of public health laboratories

New Lab Matters: Sharing the value of public health laboratories | www.APHLblog.org

The need for a laboratory voice in budgetary discussions has become more urgent recently, and “human-to-human relationships” are as critical as technical knowledge. So how does a public health laboratory raise its profile within the community? By telling a good story…over and over again.

In the summer issue of Lab Matters, our feature article examines how laboratories are sharing their value, one interview, photo or outreach moment at a time.

Here are just a few of this issue’s highlights:

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You are what you eat…and so is your baby

Asian baby drinking breastmilk

“As a mother of a baby born in 1973 when nobody was breastfeeding, I didn’t know why, but I instinctively knew breastfeeding was the best thing to do.” After my first son was born, I went back to school to become a nurse. During my interview I said, “I’m not interested in sick people, but I want to work with new moms and babies.” So, I worked in labor and delivery for 10 years. During my time on the labor and delivery floor I dedicated all of my free time to helping new mothers initiate breastfeeding. I realized this was my true passion, so I became a certified lactation consultant and have been helping mothers and babies ever since.

Today, I want to share four things you might not know about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is good for your baby (and you!)Do what’s best for mom and baby

  • Breastmilk has cells, hormones, and antibodies that help protect your baby from illnesses. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have asthma, ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting, and lower respiratory infections.
  • Breastfeeding can help your baby feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Physical contact also increases a mother’s oxytocin levels, which can help breastmilk flow.
  • Breastfeeding helps a mother heal after childbirth. It also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding is adaptable

  • Your baby’s saliva transfers chemicals to a mother’s body that causes breastmilk to adjust to meet the changing needs of your baby as they grow.
  • The first milk that a mother’s body makes during pregnancy and just after birth is called colostrum. It is a deep yellow color and is very rich in nutrients that helps your newborn baby’s digestive system grow and function.
  • Mature breastmilk has the right combination of fat, sugar, water, and protein so your baby continues to grow.

Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life during a natural disaster

  • Breastfeeding can protect your baby from illnesses caused by dirty water, including diarrhea. It can also help prevent respiratory illnesses.
  • When you breastfeed your baby will always have milk available without have access to additional supplies.
  • Breastmilk is always at the right temperature and can help keep your baby’s body temperature from dropping too low.

Breastfeeding benefits societyWorld Breastfeeding Logo

  • Babies who are breastfed usually go to the doctor for sick visits less often, need to take fewer prescription medications, and are less likely to go to the hospital.
  • Mothers who breastfeed miss less work to take care of their sick babies, compared to moms who feed their baby formula.
  • Milk is a renewable resource that does not create trash and plastic waste from things like formula cans and bottle supplies.

Learn more

August 1 – 7 is the 25th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week. This year the campaign is focused on “sustaining breastfeeding – together” and the important role of support at all levels for successful breastfeeding.

Prepare to be patriotic!

Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.

The 4th of July is a day to celebrate Uncle Sam, enjoy the summer weather, and spend time with family and friends. Keep these five things in mind as you plan your 4th of July celebration.

Prevent fireworks injuries

Fireworks can cause death and injury, including burns, cuts, bruises, and foreign objects in your eyes.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
  • Make sure you and your family watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

Beat the heat

In hot temperatures your body may be unable to properly cool itself. This could lead to serious health problems.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher – the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.
  • Stay in the shade!

Don’t let a stomach bug slow you down

The summer months typically see a spike in reports of foodborne illness. Keep the food safe at your 4th of July picnic or BBQ.

  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry and ready to eat foods, like raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs.
  • Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours – one hour if the outside temperature is over 90 degrees. Keep perishable food in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice packs.

Prepare to take the plunge

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1 to 4 years old than any other cause except birth defects.

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch all children swimming or playing in or around water. Drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Whenever possible choose swimming sites that have lifeguards.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

Fight the bite

Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies can spread diseases like Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks. Ticks are easy to remove.

You can find more tips for a safe and healthy summer on the CDC website. Happy 4th of July!

Farewell, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Days 3 and 4

Farewell, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Days 3 and 4 | www.APHLblog.org

After four days of fascinating speakers, networking with peers and partners from around the world, and enjoying public health jokes that only insiders would understand, the 2017 APHL Annual Meeting came to a close. It was the largest meeting yet with over 700 attendees. We are so thankful to the APHL staff, members, partners, exhibitors and speakers who made this meeting a success! See you all in Pasadena, California in 2018!

Below is a round-up of days 3 and 4.

Day 1 round-up

Day 2 round-up

The post Farewell, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Days 3 and 4 appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.

Hello, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Day 1

Hello, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Day 1 | www.APHLblog.org

We had an exciting first day of the 2017 APHL Annual Meeting in Providence! The meeting kicked-off with a warm welcome from Dr. Ewa King, director of the Rhode Island State Health Laboratories, and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. For more updates from the meeting, follow #APHL on Twitter and Instagram.

The post Hello, Providence! APHL Annual Meeting — Day 1 appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.

New ICMJE Requirements and the PLOS Data Policy

0000-0002-8715-2896 New ICMJE Requirements and the PLOS Data Policy   Posted June 5, 2017 by Larry Peiperl in General post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above PLOS Medicine Chief Editor Larry Peiperl discusses the PLOS data policy in relation

June is National Safety Month – Stand up to Falls

Senior couple walking together in a forest

Every 20 MinutesJune brings summer to our doorstep, along with National Safety Month. This year’s theme encourages us to “Keep Each Other Safe.” One of the best ways to keep each other safe is to “Stand Up to Falls.”

Adults 65 and older are the most vulnerable for falls and falls are the number one cause of injuries and injury deaths in this age bracket. As 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day, more and more of us will have family, friends, and neighbors who age into this high risk pool.

Older adult falls are truly a growing problem. Although many seniors are more active and living longer, more than 1 in 4 report falling. Emergency departments treat over 3 million older Americans for falls each year while direct medical expenses add up to more than $31 billion annually. As falls and fall injuries are increasing, chances have also increased that you know someone who has fallen this past year.

What can you do to Stand Up to Falls?

Fortunately, falls are preventable and we can all take steps to protect the health and wellbeing of older Americans. To assist, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to helping older Americans age safely and without injury. This means ensuring that older adults and those who care for them have the tools and resources needed to assess their fall risk and information on how to effectively reduce that risk.

CDC encourages all older Americans to:

Speak UpSpeak Up – Falls can cause severe injury and loss of independence. Therefore it’s important to talk openly with your healthcare provider about falls and your health goals. Healthcare providers are well positioned to screen for fall risk, using evidence-based tools such as those included in the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) initiative, assess modifiable fall risk factors (e.g., poor balance, the use of certain medications, vision impairment), and to offer effective strategies to help their patients prevent a fall so that they can meet their health goals.

If you are a friend or caregiver of an older person, encourage them to speak up and talk to their doctor if they have fallen, feel unsteady, or worry about falling. They should also ask about vitamin D supplements for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health. CDC has fall prevention resources available for older adults and those who care for them, such as the brochures, Family Caregivers: Protect Your Loved Ones from Falling and Stay Independent: Prevent Falls.

Make Your Home Safe – Most falls happen at home, so it’s important for older adults to check their homes – inside and out – for safety. CDC offers a brochure, Check for Safety that includes a fall prevention checklist. This list contains simple preparedness actions that often get overlooked:

  • Get rid of things you could trip over.
  • Add grab bars inside and outside of your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
  • Put railings on both sides of stairs.
  • Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.

Keep Moving – Older adults can reduce their risk of falling by improving their balance and strengthen their legs. CDC encourages older adults to keep moving and stay active with evidence-based activities like Tai Chi. Exercise and movement can also make you feel better and more confident. Check with your healthcare provider about the best type of exercise program for you or your loved one.

Falls affect us all—whether personally or someone we love or care about. Encourage older adults you know to take steps toward living longer and healthier lives. Let’s continue to keep each other safe during National Safety Month and stand up to falls!

Resources

New Health Workforce Action Plan Dodging the Difficult Questions

0000-0002-8715-2896 New Health Workforce Action Plan Dodging the Difficult Questions   Posted May 26, 2017 by Médecins Sans Frontières in General post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above Mit Ohilips and Marielle Bemelmans of  Médecins Sans Frontières

Why Diarrhea & Swimming Don’t Mix

 

Kids by PoolThe summer swim season is here, and millions of Americans will be flocking to local pools for fun in the sun and exercise. However, swimming, like any form of exercise, does not come without health risks. The good news is that we can all take a few simple but effective steps to help keep ourselves and other swimmers we know healthy and safe.

While sunburn and drowning might be the health risks that first come to mind when you think about swimming, diarrhea is another culprit. Outbreaks of diarrheal illness linked to swimming are on the rise. And this Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, we want to make sure you know these important facts about diarrhea-causing germs at aquatic venues, like swimming pools and water playgrounds, and how to protect yourself and loved ones.

  1. When swimmers have diarrheal incidents in the water, they release diarrhea-causing germs into the water. For example, a swimmer infected with the parasite Cryptosporidium can release 10–100 million infectious germs into the water. Swallowing 10 or fewer Cryptosporidium germs can make someone sick.
  2. Don't leave your mark at the pool this summerSome diarrhea-causing germs can survive in properly treated water for days. Standard levels of chlorine and other disinfectants can kill most germs in swimming pools within minutes. However, Cryptosporidium has a tough outer shell and can survive for up to 10 days in properly treated water. Outbreaks of diarrhea linked to pools or water playgrounds and caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium have doubled since 2014.
  3. Swim diapers won’t keep diarrhea out of a pool. Using swim diapers might give parents a false sense of security when it comes to containing diarrhea. Research has shown that swim diapers might hold in some solid feces but these diapers only delay diarrhea-causing germs, like Cryptosporidium, from leaking into the water by a few minutes. Swim diapers do not keep these germs from contaminating the water.
  4. Don’t swallow the water you swim in. Swallowing just a small amount of water with diarrhea germs in it can make you sick for up to 3 weeks.
  5. Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. We all share the water we swim in. Do your part to help keep loved ones healthy by not getting in the water if you or your children have diarrhea.

CDC’s Michele Hlavsa is a nurse and the chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program. As a parent, it is important for her to know how to protect her children from not only diarrhea, but all types of germs and injuries linked to swimming. Michele encourages swimmers to follow a few easy and effective steps each time they swim in a pool or get in a water playground this summer and year-round.

 

New Lab Matters: Cannabis testing and public health laboratories

New Lab Matters: Cannabis testing and public health laboratories | www.APHLblog.org

As it stands today, cannabis is a Schedule I narcotic, on the same US government list as heroin, ecstasy and other illicit drugs deemed to have high abuse potential. For 28 states and the District of Columbia where cannabis is legal for medical and/or recreational adult use, this is a huge problem, especially for state agencies and laboratories tasked with regulatory oversight and public health surveillance of cannabis safety.

In the spring issue of Lab Matters, our feature article examines how public health laboratories are responding to this unique challenge.

Here are just a few of this issue’s highlights:

Subscribe and get Lab Matters delivered to your inbox, or read Lab Matters on your mobile device.

The post New Lab Matters: Cannabis testing and public health laboratories appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.