Friday, April 23, 2010

Bee Sting Safety

As the weather warms, you will soon start to see more bees in the area. Most bees and insects will not attack when left alone. However, if provoked, a bee will sting in defense of its nest or itself. Thousands of people are stung each year and as many as 40 or 50 people in the United States die each year as a result of allergic reactions to insect bites and stings. Only a small percentage of people develop severe reactions to insect venom. Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants typically cause the most allergic reactions. Mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies and some spiders can also cause reactions, but these are generally milder.

Reducing the Risk of Being Stung - Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing. Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, and deodorants. Don't wear cologne or perfume and avoid bananas and banana-scented toiletries. Wear clean clothing and bathe daily as sweat angers bees. Cover the body as much as possible with clothing. Avoid flowering plants. If a single stinging insect is flying around, remain still or lie face down on the ground. The face is the most likely place for a bee or wasp to sting. Swinging or swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.

If you are attacked by several stinging insects at the same time, run to get away from them. Bees release a chemical when they sting that alerts other bees to the intruder and more bees often follow. Go indoors to get away from bees that are threatening you. If you are outdoors, a shaded area is better than an open area to get away from the insects. If a bee gets inside your vehicle, stop the car slowly and open all the windows to let it out.

What to do if a Person is stung - For mild reactions; move the victim to a safe area to avoid more stings. Try to remove the stinger by scraping or brushing it off with a firm edge, such as a credit card. Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers as it will cause more venom to go into the skin and injure the muscle. Wash the site with soap and water and then swab the site with disinfectant. To reduce pain and swelling, apply ice or a cold pack. Apply 0.5 % or 1 % hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or a baking soda paste to the bite or sting several times a day until the symptoms subside. Take an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin). Have someone stay with the victim to be sure that they do not have an allergic reaction. Do not scratch the sting as this will cause the site to swell and itch more, and increase the chance of infection.

For severe reactions: Severe reactions may progress rapidly. Dial 911 or call for emergency medical assistance if the victim experiences any of the following signs or symptoms: Difficulty breathing or wheezing, swelling of the lips, throat, face or neck, faintness or dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, hives, nausea, cramps or vomiting or there is a drop in blood pressure.

While waiting for emergency transportation: Have the person lie down. If they are unconscious and breathing, lay the person on their side to allow drainage from the mouth. If there is no breathing, movement or response to touch, then begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately! Check to see if the person is carrying an allergy kit containing epinephrine and follow the instructions on the kit.

Allergic reactions to bee stings can be deadly. People with known allergies to insect stings should always carry an insect sting allergy kit and wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday.

In response to this national public health crisis, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is launching “text4baby”, a free mobile information service that provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life.

Office on Women’s Health is a partner in this educational service and offers moms additional healthy pregnancy information.

If you are pregnant or a new mom, text4baby can help keep you and your baby healthy.
Sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) to receive free text messages each week, timed to your due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defect prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

Text4baby is an educational service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. For more information about text4baby, please contact

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

USDA Launches Interactive Atlas Comparing Food and Health

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new online mapping
tool to assess American food environments and how a range of factors may
relate to diet-related illnesses.

The tool, Your Food Environment Atlas, has been designed for the use of food
policy makers, researchers, and the general public. Users can pick from a
list of variables, such as proximity to grocery stores, food insecurity,
physical activity levels, food taxes, health, and food prices, among others,
and apply them to any American state.

The launch comes at a time when obesity and possible public health
interventions are high on the public and political agenda, with the recent
announcement of Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign that focuses on
physical activity and healthy eating to tackle childhood obesity, and taxes
on certain foods and drinks being considered in several states.

The USDA designed the atlas based on three broad categories: Food choice,
health choice and community characteristics. It then breaks these down into
90 separate indicators that can be applied at a state or county level.

Several government agencies contributed to the data apart from the USDA,
including the National Institutes of Health; the National Farm-to-School
Network; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Your Food Environment Atlas can be viewed at:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers in the Millions and Rising

Two new research studies published in the March issue of the Archives of Dermatology show that the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer has steadily increased since the 1990’s, making it by far the most common form of cancer, affecting more people than all other cancers combined.

Results of that research show that non-melanoma skin cancers have struck five times as many people as breast or prostate cancer. More people have had non-melanoma skin cancer than all other cancers combined over the last 31 years. Most of those who had a non-melanoma skin cancer had more than one, with the average being 1.6 skin cancers per person. In fact, procedures to treat skin cancer have increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.

What is driving this explosion in skin cancer? As all those sun worshippers from the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s get older, and their cumulative sun exposure racks up leading to more and more cases of skin cancer. Those people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s when there was not a big sun-protection message out there are now coming into their 50s and 60s and are starting to develop skin cancers."

To lessen your chances of getting skin cancer, dermatologists recommend applying broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally and often; wearing hats and other protective clothing when out in the sun; avoiding sun exposure when the sun's rays are the strongest -- between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. -- and never using tanning beds.

It's especially important to take these steps with children and teens as skin cancers are now being seen in teens and young adults as well as older individuals. Also, if you are older and were one of those sun worshipers who believed the lie of a “healthy tan”, it is never too late to start protecting yourself. Cover up, wear sun screen and best of all – stay out of the sun!