Posted in BE SAFE, CDC, Dept of Health & Human Services, Health & Welfare, Highly Infectious diseases, How to stay healthy, Uncategorized

6 Ways to Avoid the Flu

flu germ 2019The 2019 flu season is well underway. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that six to seven million people have suffered one strain of influenza or another already this season. reports two strains of dog influenza appearing in virtually every state. The CDC puts the number of (human strains) of flu-related hospitalizations, nationwide, between 69,000 and 84,000 people. With flu activity expected to continue in the coming weeks and months, we are focusing this week’s blog post on the preemptive measures you can take to stay healthy and avoid this unwelcome harbinger of winter. flu bug influenza

What is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various strains of influenza viruses. Symptoms range from mild to severe, with serious outcomes resulting in hospitalization or even death. Certain people groups, such as the elderly, young children or anyone who has a compromised immune system face an increased risk of serious flu-related complications. Even relatively healthy people prefer to skip the virus altogether. Yeah, the flu (canine or the human variety) isn’t fun.

Flu & Cold Virus InfluenzaSymptoms include:

How the Flu Differs from a Common Cold

Although the flu and colds are respiratory illnesses, they are brought on by different viruses. Both viruses impact the upper respiratory system and share similar symptoms.  As a result, suffers often struggle to tell the difference between the two. Most of the time, when it’s a cold, people are able to suffer through a runny or stuffy nose and rebound in a week. With the flu, symptoms are typically more intense and have the potential to lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.

handwashing flu germsHow to Avoid Catching the Flu:

  1. Avoid close contact with sick people or puppies. If you must share airspace with them, wear a mask, whichmay help block airborne germs and prevent the transmission of germs from your hands to your mouth or nose. This seems wise for preventing the spread of other illnesses, too. Just a thought.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands. If you don’t have access to a tissue, sneeze into your sleeve to limit the spread of germs.
  3. Frequently wash your hands with soap and hot water. If neither is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I’m not a fan of hand sanitizer because it makes my fur wet.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit the spread of germs.
  5. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
  6. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot. Although several strains of flu exist, the injection combats many. online fire safety training

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Posted in Dept of Health & Human Services

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

widget2Due to the serious nature of the subject of this week’s blog, we have chosen to dispense with my light-hearted “firedogisms.”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And, since we at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services value safety, we thought it pertinent to highlight the importance for people in all walks of life to value child advocacy. In other words, child advocacy is not limited to parents. With the motto, “We All Can Play a Part in Making Meaningful Connections,” this year’s campaign is designed to ensure that parents, friends, teachers and neighbors have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to make sure children are being cared for.

child abuse 5Each year, more than three million reports of child abuse are made in the United States, involving more than six million children (some reports include multiple children). The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing an average four-to-seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

According to a landmark study done by the CDC/Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences, the breakdown of child abuse includes the following category and associated percentage of prevalence in the U.S.:

  • Physical Abuse – 28.3%
  • Sexual Abuse – 20.7%
  • Emotional Abuse – 10.6%
  • Physical Neglect – 9.9%
  • Emotional Neglect – 14.8%

Where abuse is involved, children suffer the risk of mental health disorders, addictions and related issues which include (but are not limited to) risk for intimate partner violence, alcoholism and substance abuse, smoking and drinking at an early age, depression and suicide attempts. The good news is that we can help eliminate the above and promote children’s social and emotional well-being by preventing child maltreatment within families and communities. Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted.

The six protective factors include:

  1. Nurturing and attachment
  2. Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  3. Parental resilience
  4. Social connections
  5. Concrete supports for parents
  6. Social and emotional developmental well-being

April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children, so comprehensive participation is critical. This can be achieved by focusing on ways to build and promote protective factors in every interaction with children and families. In fact, this is the best thing any community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development. In support of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy – Strengthening Families together have created Making Meaningful Connections 2015 Resource Guide. The guide is designed for service providers who work throughout the community to strengthen families, and is available on the Information Gateway website.

We hope that this blog post will help you take steps to keep children safe during National Child Abuse Prevention Month and all year long. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. Visit to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.