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Posts for: March, 2015

By Dr. Maloney
March 18, 2015
Category: Health Promotion


Photo: Woman at computer eating fruit saladYour health is important wherever you go. And now that many people are spending most of their day sitting at a desk or inside an office, implementing health programs inside the workplace has become a vital piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle.

Chronic Disease at Work

Chronic diseases such as depression and hypertension can lead to a decline in the overall health of employees in a workplace, contribute to an increase in health-related expenses for employers and employees, and lead to days away from work. Many businesses have realized the benefits of health promotion, and to curb the costs of rising health care they have begun offering wellness programs to their employees. Ideally, the office should be a place that not only protects the safety and well-being of employees but also provides them opportunities for better long-term health.

In a study published January 2014 in CDC's Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers looked at data from 37,626 employees in Washington State and found that the overall incidence of obesity among workers was 24.6%. They also noted that percentages varied by job type. For instance, only 11.6% of those in health-diagnosing occupations, for example doctors, dentists, and veterinarians, were obese. On the other hand, 38.6% of truck drivers, who spend most of their days sitting, were obese. The authors of this study acknowledged the importance of physical activities and their availability at the workplace in preventing obesity.

Although chronic diseases like obesity are among the most common and costly of all health problems, adopting healthy lifestyles can help prevent them. A wellness program aimed at keeping employees healthy is a key long-term human asset management strategy.

Photo: Four people walking on treadmillsWhat is a Workplace Wellness Program?

A workplace wellness program is a health promotion activity or organization-wide policy designed to support healthy behavior and improve health outcomes while at work. These programs consist of activities such as health education and coaching, weight management programs, medical screenings, on-site fitness programs, and more.

Wellness programs also include policies intended to facilitate employee health, including allowing time for exercise, providing on-site kitchens and eating areas, offering healthful food options in vending machines, holding "walk and talk" meetings, and offering financial and other incentives for participation. Effective workplace programs, policies, and environments that are health-focused and worker-centered have the potential to significantly benefit employers, employees, their families, and communities.

By J Michael Maloney MD
March 18, 2015
Category: Health Promotion
Tags: Bug Bites   Insect repellent  

Avoid bug bites

Bugs (including mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies) can spread a number of diseases. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

man spraying bug spray on arm
  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours. Products containing DEET include Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon.
  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin. Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
    • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)
  • Always follow product directions and reapply as directed.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
    • Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Consider using permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
    • Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

What other steps should I take to prevent bug bites?

mosquito biting
  • Prevent mosquito bites.
    • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms.
    • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
  • Prevent tick bites.
    • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
      • Tuck in shirts, tuck pants into socks, and wear closed shoes instead of sandals to prevent bites.
    • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass, brush, and leaves. Walk in the center of hiking trails.
  • Prevent tsetse fly bites.
    • The tsetse fly lives in sub-Saharan Africa and can spread African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis).
    • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
      • Clothing fabric should be at least medium weight because the tsetse fly can bite through thin fabric.
    • Wear neutral-colored clothing. The tsetse fly is attracted to bright colors, very dark colors, metallic fabric, and the color blue.
    • Avoid bushes during the day, when the tsetse fly is less active. It rests in bushes and will bite if disturbed.
    • Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering. The flies are attracted to moving vehicles.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • If you are bitten by mosquitoes:
    • Avoid scratching mosquito bites.
    • Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce itching.
  • Find and remove ticks from your body.
    • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors.
    • Check your entire body (under your arms, in and around your ears, in your belly button, behind your knees, between your legs, around your waist, and especially in your hair). Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.
    • Check your pets and belongings. Ticks can be on outdoor equipment and clothes.

Coming soon.

By J MIchael Maloney MD
March 18, 2015
Category: Health Promotion


Caribbean Travel


Man playing steel drumsTraveling to the Caribbean for a music festival? Stay healthy and safe.

Throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer, many islands in the Caribbean host festivals for a broad array of music enthusiasts. These festivals beckon people from around the globe to enjoy international rhythms set against the lush backdrop of Caribbean seas and sunshine. Popular festivals like Jamaica's Reggae Sumfest and other Caribbean festivals highlight many different genres of music. In recent years countries such as St. Lucia, Curaçao, Aruba, and St. Kitts have experienced a growth in tourism due, in part, to hosting music festivals.

Traveling to international events can be exciting, but an illness or injury can spoil your trip. Illnesses like the flu can easily be spread from person to person when a lot of people gather. Bug bites and too much sun can also make you sick or ruin your vacation. In fact, cases of chikungunya (a disease spread by mosquitoes) have recently been reported in several Caribbean countries.

Get the most out of your Caribbean festival experience by following these tips to protect your health and safety before, during, and after your trip.

Recent Chikungunya Cases

To learn more about the recent Chikungunya cases in the Caribbean, please visit the following:

Concert crowd applauding

Before Your Trip

Man spraying on insect repellant

Avoid bug bites.

Three young women drinking water from bottles

Drink only beverages from sealed cans or bottles.

Stay Healthy and Safe During Your Trip

  • Avoid bug bites and use insect repellent to prevent bites from insects and mosquitoes that can transmit malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and other infections. If you are visiting an area with malaria [Haiti, Dominican Republic and Guyana] and your doctor prescribed medicine, remember to take it exactly as prescribed.
  • Follow food and water safety advice. Eat only food that is cooked and served hot, and drink only beverages from sealed cans or bottles. Do not put ice in your drinks unless it has been made from treated water. Do not eat foods that are raw or undercooked, fresh fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them yourself), or unpasteurized dairy products. Download CDC's free mobile app, Can I Eat This? to help prevent travelers' diarrhea, and other more serious illnesses caused by contaminated food and water.
  • Stay safe on the roads. Look in both directions when crossing the street, wear a helmet when you ride a bike or motorcycle, and always wear a seatbelt.
  • Dehydration and heat-related illnesses are common in tropical countries. Drink plenty of bottled water, keep cool, and wear sunscreen. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the Travel to Hot Climates and Sun Exposure webpages.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Being drunk can cause you to hurt yourself or other people, engage in risky behaviors, or get arrested.
  • The relaxed environment and festive mood can encourage travelers to engage in risky sex, especially if alcohol or drugs are involved. Carry condoms that you purchased in the United States. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the Traveler Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) webpage.
  • U.S. travelers may be targets for criminals. As much as possible, do not travel at night, avoid questionable areas, do not wear expensive jewelry, and travel with a companion.

After Your Trip

Pay close attention to how you feel after you return home. Go to the doctor right away if you

  • have a fever with a cough or sore throat, or have trouble breathing.
  • have a fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, or flu-like illness, and you visited an area with malaria.
  • If you go to the doctor, tell your doctor about your recent international travel.
  • For more information, visit the Getting Sick after Travel webpage

By J Michael Maloney MD
March 18, 2015
Category: Health Promotion
Tags: Diet   Heal Promotion   Nutrition  
'Try these @[188110277921904:274:Million Hearts] #hearthealthy nutrition tips: 1) check nutrition labels for the lowest sodium options, 2) limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol you eat, and 3) eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. #nutritionmonth'

Try these Million Hearts ‪#‎hearthealthy‬ nutrition tips: 1) check nutrition labels for the lowest sodium options, 2) limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol you eat, and 3) eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. ‪#‎nutritionmonth‬

By J Michael Maloney MD
March 18, 2015
Category: Health Promotion

Skin Cancer Prevention

Boy sitting on beach with the words 'spring break' on his backTraveling for spring break? Don't forget to pack, protect yourself from the sun, and go!

Don't risk ruining your trip or your health with too much sun.

Using sun protection can prevent sunburn during your vacation and protect you against skin cancer later. Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the United States. Skin cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly. Fortunately, most cases are preventable, and as a traveler, you can use simple strategies to keep yourself and your family safe from the sun.

Why is sun protection important for your spring break travel plan?

Travelers spending time outdoors are exposed to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, even on cloudy days.

Travelers are at increased risk when traveling:

  • Near the equator.
  • During summer months (December–March in the Southern Hemisphere).
  • At high altitudes.

Reflection from the snow, sand, and water increases exposure, so consider sun safety during outdoor activities such as:

  • Skiing or other activities in the snow.
  • Spending time at the beach.
  • Swimming.
  • Sailing or other water activities.
Woman putting on sun tan lotion

Choose sun protection strategies that work.

What can spring break travelers do?

Enjoy safe travels and choose sun protection strategies that work.

Pack sun protection and bring:

  • Clothing to protect your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • A hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Remember that sunscreen is most effective when used in combination with other methods.

Protect yourself from the sun:

  • Wear sun protective gear such as sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing.
  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10 am to 4 pm). Try using an umbrella, cabana, or a tree for shade.
  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • If using insect repellent, apply sunscreen first, let it dry, and apply insect repellent on top of it.
  • Avoid tanning beds or sunbathing. Remember tanned skin is damaged skin. Trying to get a "base tan" is still damaging to your skin and does not provide enough protection against burning



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