It’s the most wonderful time of the year – flu season. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 8% of the U.S. population contracted the flu in 2018. Taking into account seasonal flu, the CDC found that number varied from 3% to 11%. The term seasonal flu is used to describe symptoms and sickness which occur during the same period each year, typically winter months.
The flu is caused by influenza viruses that are easily transmitted from person to person. Two types of influenza (A and B) are responsible for causing seasonal flu each year, infecting the nose, throat and lungs causing mild to severe illness.
The main difference between influenza A and B is that influenza A can be carried and spread by both humans and animals, allowing the virus to develop different strains in a short period of time, thus making pandemic flu a possibility. Influenza B is generally only carried by humans and as such, the virus typically does not produce the high volume of strains as its counterpart.
the best way to prevent contracting flu is to receive your annual flu shot, washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough, and disinfecting commonly used surfaces.
There are certain populations at a higher risk for hospitalization as a result of contracting flu including young children, the elderly and individuals who are immunocompromised. For these individuals, flu can lead to serious complications and even death.
A study conducted in 2018 and published by Clinical Infectious Disease Journal found that on average, children under 18 years of age are at the highest risk of contracting flu, while adults aged 65 and older are least likely to contract the virus.
Symptoms of flu can mimic the common cold and include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, cough, headaches, fatigue, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea; fever may or may not be present. The difference between the common cold and flu is that flu typically begins suddenly with no pre-existing symptoms.
The answer is that the flu virus is spread from person to person by tiny droplets released when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or talk. Those tiny droplets can be inhaled through the mouth and/or nose to the mouths and noses of those unlucky individuals who happen to be in proximity to someone with the virus. Although occurring less often, flu can be spread by coming into contact with something that has flu virus on it, like a pen, doorknob or computer keyboard and then subsequently touching your nose, throat, mouth, or eyes. The single best way to prevent contracting flu is to receive an annual flu shot.
The majority of individuals who become ill do not need to seek medical care or be treated with antiviral drugs. Most doctors recommend staying home to prevent infecting others, getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids. On the other hand, if you are a member of a high-risk population or are concerned about your symptoms, you should call your doctor as soon as possible. Treatment using antiviral drugs is encouraged immediately for people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease because serious complications can occur when these individuals contract flu. It has been shown that early treatment with antiviral medications (specifically within two days of symptom manifestation) provides the best treatment of flu. However, there is no detriment in taking these medications later in the course of illness because they can still aid in preventing further sickness.
While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary, the CDC has found that vaccination can reduce the risk of illness by 40-60%. That being said, different strains of flu may not respond to the vaccine and thus, individuals can still become sick even after receiving the vaccination; however, this should not be a deterrent from receiving an annual flu shot as the chances of becoming ill significantly decrease with regard to the most prevalent strains of the virus. Other steps you can take to prevent becoming sick include washing your hands often with soap and water before touching your eyes, nose and mouth, covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough, disinfecting commonly used surfaces and staying home from school or work for at least 24 hours after fever subsides without the use of medications such as Tylenol and Advil.
While this information may seem overwhelming, the best way to prevent contracting flu is to receive your annual flu shot, washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough, and disinfecting commonly used surfaces.
If you become sick, monitor your symptoms and call your doctor if you think you need further care. Wash your hands and stay home if you are sick!!!! These simple measures will go a long way in preventing illness.
Further information regarding the flu can be found by visiting the Center For Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the National Institutes of Health website found at and the World Health Organization’s website.
Mark your calendars!
Vaping - you can’t turn on a television or radio, pick up a newspaper or magazine (or venture online to any news source) and not be bombarded by a deluge of reports on a mystery illness that has been swiftly spreading across the nation.
Every day there are more deaths linked to this as yet undefined lung illness which has been established as directly related to the use of electronic cigarettes (commonly referred to as e-cigarettes) and the process by which they deliver nicotine and other products, called vaping.
E-cigarettes are also known as vape pens, vapes, mods, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). These devices work by heating the liquid inside the cartridges or pods which creates an aerosol that is then inhaled, as one would do when smoking a traditional cigarette. The liquid inside these devices can contain nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, as well as other substances and additives, including unknown chemicals. The most common uses of the e-cigarette is to deliver nicotine and/or THC. E-cigarettes containing specifically nicotine are available in various strength cartridges that can be adjusted to further increase the voltage on the device, delivering additional, higher amounts of nicotine.
How is it any different than smoking cigarettes? Vaping and e-cigarettes were originally marketed as a smoking cessation aid and many former cigarette smokers credit vaping as the single most important factor in their ability to quit smoking cigarettes. Surprisingly, studies published by Johns Hopkins Medicine revealed that electronic cigarettes are just as addictive as regular cigarettes and therefore, do not present an effective means by which to quit smoking cigarettes. Additionally, these devices have not been approved by the FDA to be utilized for smoking cessation. Furthermore, a recent study showed that individuals who used e-cigarettes as a means of smoking cessation not only returned to smoking traditional cigarettes, but utilized e-cigarettes as well.
E-cigarette use by high school students had increased by 900 percent, with 40 percent of those users never having even smoked a regular cigarette or used any other form of tobacco
When it comes to the vaping epidemic, the broader concern lies within the marketing tactics used to entice teens to begin using e-cigarettes. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that in 2015 e-cigarette use by high school students had increased by 900 percent, with 40 percent of those users never having even smoked a regular cigarette or used any other form of tobacco. It has become abundantly clear as time passes that e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly attractive to teens because they (falsely) believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. The fact that e-cigarettes tend to cost less than regular cigarettes may also play a role in the increase in amount of teens choosing to vape.
Finally and probably the most problematic factor in teen use of e-cigarettes, is that the cartridges and liquid used in the devices come in a variety of flavorings which appeal to a younger audience such as watermelon, cotton candy, mint, mango, apple pie - the list goes on. So why wouldn’t a teen participate in the use of e-cigarettes and vape pens? They’re cheaper than cigarettes, they don’t produce a foul smell, they come in various enticing flavors and they are led to the belief that using these devices is a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. Currently, across the country efforts are being made to ban the sale of flavored vape “juice” in hopes that this will deter teens from using e-cigarettes.
These statistics are increasing so steadily that the CDC now updates their website with new information every Thursday.
So, people are getting sick, they are suffering from some unknown lung illness, but we do not know why these illnesses are occurring and by what processes they are occurring within the body. It is only by gathering data that we will be able to learn why people are becoming ill and thereby develop ways in which to prevent illness and death related to vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. The symptoms recorded across the board in patients with these lung related illnesses includes cough, shortness of breath, cheat pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and abdominal pain. Patients report both becoming acutely ill and others note that their symptoms increased over the course of several weeks. There has been no correlation between existing lung infections and vaping related illnesses.
The takeaway here is that there are just too many unknowns when it comes to the health effects of vaping and the use of e-cigarettes, including the specific chemical makeup of the products being used which is compounded by the fact that no single product or substance seems to be identified in every single case. Ingredients in the products vary greatly and there is no way that a consumer can identify what is contained in the products that they are purchasing and using. Some products may have been altered by the supplier. The bottom line is that there is just no way to know what you are purchasing.
The obvious answer is to discontinue use of e-cigarettes and vaping products, especially products which contain THC, which appears to have a strong correlation between use and illness. According to the Center For Disease Control’s website, efforts are being made to respond to this public health crisis including identifying and defining the risk factors and sources of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use and vaping, maintaining close communication with state, local and clinical practitioners regarding recommendations for treatment and prevention and developing lab procedures to identify the cause of illness, thereby providing better patient care and favorable patient outcomes.
What it boils down to is that there are just too many unknowns when it comes to why and how these illnesses are occurring. It is better to operate on a “better safe than sorry” mentality and educate yourself, your family and friends regarding the health risks associated with vaping and e-cigarette use. If you, a family member, or a friend experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention immediately through a primary care physician, local urgent care, or emergency room.
The CDC has very specific recommendations:
If you are an adult who is trying to quit smoking:
More information regarding e-cigarettes and vaping can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
Johns Hopkins Medical’s website found at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping
The Center on Addiction’s website located at https://www.centeronaddiction.org/e-cigarettes/recreational-vaping
The program fee is $45 Medicaid participants pay a $20 fee for seven 1-hour sessions with the option of signing up for additional support sessions and is covered by some health plans. The program includes a workbook and 4-weeks of nicotine patches or gum. Tuesdays 6:00-7:00p To register for The Butt Stops Here, call (518) 459-2550. For more information,visit our website at quitsolutions.org
1300 Massachusetts Avenue, Troy, NY 12180
Phone: (518) 459-2550
As summer draws to a close, temperatures start to cool off, especially at night. It’s only a matter of time until we reluctantly head to the thermostat to turn the heat on. If you’re like most, you try to wait as long as you can to flip that switch, thinking that maybe it will stave off the cold weather longer.
It's important to safeguard against Carbon Monoxide -- a silent killer.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas which is found in fumes that are produced when you burn fuel, like when you turn your car, stove, grill, fireplace, or furnace on. If safeguards are not in place, the fumes these items generate can accumulate indoors and poison both people and animals, causing injury and death.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 people die annually as a result of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, with more than 20,000 people visiting an emergency room for symptoms and 4,000 being admitted to the hospital.
CO poisoning can often mimic “flu-like” symptoms - headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath. Late signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are confusion, vomiting, loss of consciousness and ultimately death. It’s imperative to know and recognize the early symptoms as soon as possible to prevent injury and death.
Fortunately, there are simple safeguards that you can put in place to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and they include:
While you’re putting away lawn furniture and readying your home for colder weather, making a few small observations and putting the safeguards above in place will ensure that your family is protected from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
More information regarding CO poisoning can be found by visiting: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm; Safe Kids Worldwide: https://www.safekids.org/blog/its-national-carbon-monoxide-awareness-week; The National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/other-poisons/carbon-monoxide; and the U.S. Fire Administration: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/carbon_monoxide.html.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 783 bicyclists were killed in 2017, with the majority of accidents occurring in larger cities and towns, as opposed to more rural areas. A large percentage of these accidents involved motor vehicles. Simple, common-sense measures can ensure that you are able to enjoy cycling without becoming involved in an accident.
Cycling is an enjoyable activity either alone, or with friends and family. Some folks compete in races, while some enjoying cycling because it can be easier on joints while still providing all of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Many enjoy cycling with friends and/or family as a way to spend time together while staying active. Regardless of which category you fall into or where you choose to cycle, (on the road, bike path, sidewalks in your city or town, or just around your neighborhood) it is important to remain vigilant, take appropriate safety measures and maintain equipment to prevent accidents from occurring.
The single most important measure you can take is to always wear a properly fitted helmet. Middle-age bicyclers encompass the largest number of cyclists to be injured or killed. Wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent a head injury, should an accident occur. In the United States, all helmets must meet the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The National Highway Traffic Administration offers the following information when shopping for a properly fitted helmet:
Adequate preparation is another element of bicycle safety. Check your equipment to make sure that it is functional, i.e. – adequate amount of air in the tires and checking that the brakes work. Ensure that shoelaces are secured so as to not become entangled in the bicycle’s wheel spokes or chain and never biking while wearing sandals/flip flops. When possible, planning a route that typically has less traffic and slower speed limits is a good idea. Of course, there is always the option of cycling on a designated bike path, which obviates the danger associated with motor vehicles.
Once out on the road, it is imperative to follow the rules of the road, which include:
For those who choose to cycle on a sidewalk or bike path rather than on the roadway, the same tips regarding the rules of the road apply, but there are some additional safety tips which are specific to cycling on a sidewalk or bike path:
The above safety measures may appear to be catered specifically to adults, however, they remain applicable to children. When purchasing a bicycle for your child, it is important to bring your child along so as to ensure that the bicycle is the right fit, including the child being able to touch the ground while sitting on the bicycle seat. Most sporting goods stores have professionals who can assist you in selecting the proper bicycle fit for your child.
Riding with your child until they are comfortable enough to ride on their own and riding on sidewalks whenever possible are two important safety measures. Studies shown that most children are not able to judge speed and distance appropriately enough to safely cycle on their own until age 10. Of course, every child is unique and you shouldn’t allow your child to cycle on their own until you feel comfortable that they are able to make safe judgments and decisions while cycling. Again, ensuring proper maintenance of the bicycle is of utmost importance. Teach your child to inspect the tires, as well as the brakes on the bicycle.
Once again, a helmet should be worn at all times. According to the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, wearing a bicycle helmet may reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45%. Unfortunately, studies have shown that less than half of children 14 and under regularly wear bike helmets.
Finding the right size helmet is hands-down the most important component of bicycle safety, as discussed. Once again, make certain that the helmet conforms to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) standards. The helmet should be in a level position on top of the head and should not be able to move forward, backward, or side to side. Make sure that your child understands the importance of always buckling the helmet strap. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends the following:
Finally, as well all know, children learn from the behavior of adults. Make sure that you consistently practice bicycle safety and your children will follow suit.
Cycling can be a fun, enjoyable, heart-healthy activity both individually or as a group, including friends and family. However, safety measures must be taken to guard against accidents and serious injury. Utilizing the above tips is a good start on the way to becoming a safe and informed cyclist. Your local sports stores and specialty bike shops should be able to help you in purchasing the correct bicycle for your needs as well as fit you for a helmet. In addition, there are many resources which provide more in-depth detailed information, including:
The Bruen Rescue Squad is proud to partner with the American Red Cross and be a part of all they do for our community, our country and around the world.
Our blood drive is important to patients in need, but the collection and distribution of blood is just a small part of all the Red Cross does.
The enormity of what the Red Cross accomplishes every day is astounding and this is one of the reasons we chose them as one of our core community outreach partners.
From a blood supply standpoint:
At the Bruen Rescue Squad, we are proud to hold blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross, giving us all an opportunity to make a difference.
Our next drive is coming up on Saturday August 10. We still 8am – 12pm open appointment slots to fill.
There are many ways you can help, but most importantly we hope you come out to donate. If you can’t donate, please consider joining volunteer team or help spread the work by promoting our drive on social media.
Thank you for making the Bruen Rescue Squad such a success. Let’s make an impact on Saturday and add it to our list of great accomplishments.
Schedule an appointment today by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To book an appointment online, visit this page and type in your zip code or sponsor code BRUEN.
Donors can save up to 15 minutes by using RapidPass® to complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online.
For more information, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass.
You can also share our facebook event page with your friends and family.
The Fourth of July is a time for friends and family to get together for barbecues, cooling off by the ocean, lake, or pool and watching your local firework displays. Unfortunately, there will always be folks who prefer to purchase their own devicesand create their own shows at home. Laws vary according to state and individual counties regarding purchasing and utilizing fireworks for individual purposes. Should you desire to purchase your own fireworks for home use, be sure to first check with your local town or municipality to ascertain what your local laws are regarding the purchase and possession of fireworks.
The best practice when it comes to firework safety is simply to leave the fireworks displays up to the professionals. Fireworks are explosives and must be treated with caution. The National Safety Council advises that the majority of fireworks accidents and/or deaths are the result of untrained individuals using professional-grade and/or homemade fireworks.
While the majority of accidents are the result of the use of professional-grade fireworks, the use of perfectly legal devices by children and young adults come in at a close second. Children and young adults should never be allowed unattended around fireworks, sparklers, bottle rockets, poppers, or any type of device which may ignite and cause burns or bodily injury.
After consulting your state and local laws, if you wish to possess and utilize your own fireworks, be sure to review any safety instructions and follow all instructions carefully and with due diligence. Never allow pets around devices. Do not discharge devices in small areas, near brush or foliage, near propane or oxygen tanks, or any other objects which may explode when exposed to heat or flame. Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher and/or water (or whatever liquid or material the device instructions indicate based on the composition of the individual device) on hand to mitigate any situations in which devices discharge early, inappropriately, or too close to flammable objects.
More information on fireworks safety can be found on the National Safety Council’s website by visiting https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/fireworks and by contacting your local authorities to get information regarding individual applicable laws.
With the right information and by following simple, common-sense measures, your Fourth of July can be a fun, enjoyable and most of all, safe, celebration for all.
Check out this great infographic from VFIS:
Summer has finally arrived! Warm weather and sunshine are synonymous with long afternoons spent by the pool. Whether you frequent a community pool or just have to walk out the door to your backyard, there are a few tips you should keep in mind in order to keep everyone safe and able to enjoy a break from the heat.
Following the above simple safety tips can help you to enjoy your summer while keeping yourself, your family, friends and neighbors safe.
May is national stroke month and it's important to realize the link between your blood pressure and reducing the risks of a stroke. There are many benefits of taking your blood pressure regularly. If you already have high blood pressure, you can track your readings from day to day and monitor diet and exercise, both of which aid in maintaining a healthy pressure. If you do not have high blood pressure, monitoring your pressure regularly will help you detect any changes that may indicate the need to see your doctor.
It is extremely important to keep your blood pressure within normal limits. The American Heart Association defines hypertension as any blood pressure greater than 120 systolic (the top number) and 80 diastolic (the bottom number). Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure in the blood vessels caused by your heart beating and hypertension indicates that your heart is working harder than it should. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is important to help you avoid serious health problems including heart attack and stroke. (Signs of a stroke)
There are modifiable and non-modifiable factors that can affect your blood pressure. Non-modifiable factors include genetics, which unfortunately we can’t do much to change. Modifiable factors refer to diet and exercise and learning ways to change the modifiable factors can help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Exercise is perhaps the most important component in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week can be beneficial to health and wellness. This means that you should aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day of the week. Exercise like a 30-minute brisk walk every day can have a positive effect on your heart health and overall wellness. Many people feel that they just don’t have the time to achieve the 30-minute goal, but there are many ways that you can sneak physical activity into your daily routine, such as:
Finding an activity that you like to do such as walking with friends, or taking a bike ride can make exercising more enjoyable and therefore making you more likely do it. Something as simple as a regular brisk walking can achieve the same benefits as other forms of exercise. The greater the duration, length and intensity of walking, the more benefit. So, remember, to reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke, talk with your Doctor and:
Spring has sprung!
And that means it’s time to hit the road…
Whether you’re a runner, a cyclist, or both, as you’re lacing up your sneakers to go for a run or hit the road on your bicycle, remember some important safety tips that can keep you out of harm’s way and allow you to enjoy your outdoor activities.
If you’re heading out for an early morning (or twilight) run, a few tips to keep in mind:
For those who prefer cycling, some rules to keep you safe:
Whatever activity you choose this spring, use common-sense, take safety measures and be cautious to ensure that you stay safe in your pursuit of health and wellness.