Monitoring during COVID-19 to flatten the curve; let’s focus on what we can do.
Monitoring during COVID-19 to flatten the curve; let’s focus on what we can do.
Preventing the spread of illness is a high priority. It’s easy to overlook some high traffic areas.
Help prevent the virus and bacteria spread with this nightly cleaning ritual.
Author: Whitney Cherry
COVID-19 has been driving public and private discussion as of late. But, we have to stay vigilant in working against all public health threats. One of the threats we typically start talking about this time of year is mosquito borne illnesses and preventative mosquito control. Not only are mosquitoes pests, but they can transmit some diseases we wouldn’t want, even under normal circumstances.
So what’s the reality? While the incidence of mosquito borne illness is much lower with the advent of modern medicine and basic public practices of wearing bug spray and dumping or treating standing water, it’s definitely not unheard of. The Zika scare is not such a distant memory afterall. And EEE (eastern equine encephalitis) was at an unusual high last year in horses in the panhandle. So what can we do?
With recent flooding in some areas and the weather warming, we can expect to see increasing populations of mosquitoes. Additionally, as the weather warms, we all tend to spend more time outside, increasing our likelihood of mosquito bites. Further exacerbating the situation are the widespread quarantine measures keeping many of us home. The late afternoon and early evening hours bring ideal weather to step outside and enjoy a little time away from TV and computer screens. We encourage fresh air and exercise outdoors, but we also encourage basic safety. So wear bug spray if you’re outside early morning and especially near, during, or shortly after dusk. Wear long sleeves and pants and socks if you can stand it. And keep standing water out of containers on your property. If this isn’t possible, look for safe water treatment options. The most prevalent spreaders of disease (Aedes aegypti) actually require these containers of water to complete their life cycle.
For more information on this or other Extension-related topics, call or email your local extension office.
It’s hard to believe, but Wednesday, April 22, 2020 marks Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. As far as anniversaries are concerned, the 50th is definitely a milestone, often commemorated with something lasting and treasured.
Kind of ironic then that this year’s Earth Day theme is “Climate Change.” According to the Earth Day Network, this theme represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
This year’s theme harkens back to 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated with an objective to spread awareness. Twenty million Americans (10% of the country’s population at the time) protested environmental ignorance and demanded protections for our planet. These demands eventually led to the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Many countries soon adopted similar laws.
As Extension agents, we are tasked with providing research-based, reasonable, and helpful information on a variety of topics that can improve people’s lives. Climate change is a divisive issue. In fact, a University of Florida IFAS Extension EDIS fact sheet called “Challenges in Communicating Climate Change to Extension Audiences” outlines the many challenges of discussing climate change with typical audiences.
|Six Americas Audience Categories||Description||You might hear|
|Alarmed||Convinced global warming is a serious and urgent threat; highly engaged; most likely to change behavior||I’m so upset and worried about the future.|
|Concerned||Convinced global warming is a serious threat; somewhat engaged; less likely to change behavior||I think this is something politicians should address|
|Cautious||Believe global warming is a problem but not a personal or urgent threat||So what is it all about?|
|Disengaged||Give little thought to global warming; change beliefs easily; not perceived as a problem for them||I have other things to think about, like how to pay the bills.|
|Doubtful||Not sure if global warming is happening||Seems like climate always changes. This is a political issue.|
|Dismissive||Firmly believe global warming is not occurring; highly engaged in preventing change in policies; very knowledgeable||It is arrogant to believe that people can change the climate. This graph shows the scientists have it wrong.|
Nonetheless, Extension agents are well-informed and desperately care for the health and welfare of their families, neighbors, and communities. Especially now, as collectively, we all are facing an uncertain future.
The coronavirus pandemic has stressed our lives right now. Everyone is grappling with change. Everyone is worried about human health. Even with everything else going on, Earth Day is a yearly reminder to exercise our collective responsibility. As one human race, we just can’t sit back and relax and hope everything turns out okay. It is going to take some work.
So instead of feeling like our time is being wasted by staying at home, perhaps we can spend this time in a positive way. I heard a news commentator recently say something along the lines of not letting this time we all have now to use us, but for us to use this time to come out better on the other end.
Like Helen Keller famously said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Let’s start together.
Here are some tips and resources for saving energy, money, and the environment:
Save Energy, Save Money (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver)
Understand personal water consumption (https://www.epa.gov/watersense/how-we-use-water#Daily%20Life)
Say NO to plastic (https://www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters/toxicological-threats-plastic)
Eat with a conscience (http://www.floridaclimateinstitute-uf.org/)
Think about personal consumption (https://moneytalk1.blogspot.com/2020/03/when-things-seem-out-of-control-control.html)
Support your leading environmental movements. Youth around the globe are passionate about this. They worry, and rightly so, about what is going to happen, now and in the future.
We are in the depths of flu season and now the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Although we need to proceed with caution, we also want to avoid causing a panic. Both viruses are very concerning, but with good hand washing skills and a few other daily steps you can do your best to prevent you and your family from becoming sick.
Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
Follow these Five Steps Every Time You Wash Your Hands:
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer:
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use.
Conclusion – Other Basic Tips to Prevent Spread of Illness:
Be sure to utilize credible sources to find your information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health are excellent resources.
CDC page Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
CDC frequently asked questions (FAQs) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf
Florida Department of Health frequently asked questions (FAQ) http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/faq.html
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact your local Department of Health for assistance.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/
Florida Department of Health – http://www.floridahealth.gov/
This month brings awareness and education about the importance of our kidneys in maintaining a healthy life. Kidney function is unique because you may not notice the symptoms until the function is already far gone. The CDC reports chronic kidney disease is a condition that 1 in every 7 adults (age 18 or older) in the United States has, as well as people with end stage renal disease who need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
How do your kidneys keep you healthy?
There are many complications associated with kidney disease. They include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, heart attack, weak bones, high blood pressure, stroke, anemia/low red blood cell count and of course kidney failure.
The main risk factors for kidney disease and the problems associated with it are high blood pressure, diabetes, family history, and being 60 years old and above. Out of these four problems, two of them – high blood pressure and diabetes – may be managed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking medications as prescribed, regular visits to your doctor and exercise. If you have been diagnosed with either of these two, you need to regularly monitor your blood pressure and glucose levels, take medications if prescribed, and speak openly with your doctor about concerns or questions you may have. Family history and being over the age of 60 are not issues you can control, but you can strive to live a healthy lifestyle and regularly have blood work drawn so your doctor can help catch any issues that are becoming a problem. Learning to maintain and follow your doctor’s orders will go a long way to keeping you and your kidneys healthy longer.
What are the symptoms you may notice if you are experiencing kidney problems?
If you notice any of these problems or are just concerned because of family history, your family doctor can order the blood work to check your kidney function. If you find out you are experiencing kidney problems you should see a nephrologist – a kidney specialist.
Although many people ignore the importance of their kidneys, they play a very important part in our daily bodily functions in regulating minerals, fluids, blood pressure, and so much more. Striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle will help to ensure your kidneys keep working hard for you. Be sure to show your kidneys some love this March to celebrate National Kidney Month.