This is Public Health

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New Orleans, one of the South’s largest major tourist cities with a high-grossing land-based casino and more than 500 bars within the city limits, made history today by becoming the largest city in Louisiana to unanimously pass a comprehensive, 100 percent smoke-free ordinance.

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Louisiana (CTFLA) applauds and thanks the New Orleans City Council for their unanimous votes today in favor of protecting the health of all New Orleans employees by making all workplaces, including bars and gaming establishments, smoke-free.

The smoke-free measure, championed by Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and co-sponsored by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, ensures that all employees, including bartenders, gaming facility employees, and entertainers, will be protected from the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace.  The ordinance will go into effect 90 days from passage.

“We are tremendously grateful to all the key city officials who stood up and took action to protect the health of all employees;” said Tonia Moore, Associate Director, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL). “We want to send a special thanks to the ordinance sponsors Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell and Susan Guidry. These leaders not only did the right thing for the health of all New Orleans citizens, but they have continued paving the way for other cities and the state to hopefully do the same.”

Click here to read the full statement.

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More teens are trying out e-cigarettes than the real thing, according to the government’s annual drug use survey.

Researchers were surprised at how many 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported using electronic cigarettes this year, even as regular smoking by teens dropped to new lows.

Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they had used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.

Use increased with age: Some 16 percent of 10th graders had tried an e-cigarette in the past month, and 17 percent of high school seniors. Regular smoking continued inching down, to 7 percent of 10th graders and 14 percent of 12th graders.

“I worry that the tremendous progress that we’ve made over the last almost two decades in smoking could be reversed on us by the introduction of e-cigarettes,” said University of Michigan professor Lloyd Johnston, who leads the annual Monitoring the Future survey of more than 41,000 students.

Click here to read the full article from the AP. 

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Infections with enteroviruses are usually common in the United States during summer and fall. This year, beginning in mid-August, states started seeing more children in hospitals with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Since then, CDC and states have been doing more testing, and have found that EV-D68 is making people sick in almost all states. Most of the cases have been among children. EV-D68 is not new, but it hasn’t been as common in the past. While this has been a big year for EV-D68 infections, CDC expects the number of cases to taper off by late fall.

Take some basic steps and precautions outlined by the CDC to keep your child from getting and spreading EV-D68.

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“Six people in Louisiana have been diagnosed with chikungunya virus, most in the Greater New Orleans area.

State epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard said each of the six cases — four in Jefferson Parish, one in Orleans Parish and one in Tangipahoa Parish — were contracted while the individuals were traveling in the Caribbean.

Like West Nile virus, chikungunya virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Though it is not usually deadly, people who are infected with chikungunya usually develop fever and joint pain as well as headaches and sometimes a rash. There is no vaccine to prevent it.”

Click here to read the full story from NOLA.com

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The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, a program of LPHI and LCRC, is currently working with grantees to host a series of statewide town halls where youth are sharing the results of their research on tobacco advertising. Check out this video produced by the Region 8 grantee in Jonesboro featuring students from the local Defy the Lies team.

Click here to see the video.

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved new regulations and warning labels for tanning beds aimed at reducing skin cancer.

The F.D.A has been regulating tanning beds for more than 30 years but will now require manufacturers to warn consumers in greater detail about the risks.

Labels on new beds will say the machines should not be used by anyone under the age of 18 and will also be required to warn people about cancer risk. The F.D.A. is also imposing new safety requirements for timers and limits on radiation.

Click here to learn more.

Flip Flops

After months of patiently waiting, it’s finally here: the sizzling hot days of summer. With summer serving as the unofficial start to the celebrated season of sun, you want to make sure it’s as healthy and safe for you and your family as possible.

From traffic safety to diet reminders, here are tips from WebMD that will have you starting your summer off on the right flip-flop.

Click here to learn more.

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Having fun while you swim this summer means knowing how to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries. Learn how to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the water!

Swimming is one of the most popular sports activities in the United States. Although swimming is a physical activity that offers many health benefits, pools and other recreational water venues are also places where germs can be spread and injuries can happen.

May 19–25, 2014, the week before Memorial Day, marks the tenth annual Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week.

Click here to learn more.

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This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the observance of Earth Day. And the evidence is clear that the environment in which we live has a profound impact on human health. Clean drinking water, a safe food source, air quality, the built environment, climate change, exposure to toxic substances. All are environmental factors that can potentially affect health.

Click here to learn more about staying healthy this Earth Day.

Food Safety Concept

The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex. There is a lot of information to parse in order to understand food labels and to learn the best practices during a food borne illness outbreak. Public health professionals can help guide people through their choices.

Learn more about today’s National Public Health Week theme: Eat Well.