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The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
May 31, 2012     The Perkins Journal
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May 31, 2012

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Thursday, May 31, 2012 Health • 401 S. Main " &L00ving l :,oo.,,,.,,/ County Health Officials Urge Safe Swimming Precautions As Oklahomans gear up for a summer of fun activities on the water, the Payne County Health Department (PCHD) encourages everyone to observe healthy swim- ming behaviors as they increase their physical activity and enjoy their leisure time. According to Payne County Health Department Public Health Specialist George Neu- roh. r,. RPS, healthy and safe swimming behaviors will prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries. "RWIs are caused by germs spread by swal- lowing or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans." said Neurohr. "They can also be spread by breath- ing in mists or aerosols from contaminated water. RWIs can be pre- vented if we all exercise appropriate swimming behaviors." Neurohr provided the following healthy swim- ming behaviors: • Avoid swimming when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. • Avoid swallowing pool or lake water. In fact, avoid getting water in your mouth. • Practice good hygiene: shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often. Change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming, especially the diapered area. • While swim diapers are not leak proof, they can Summer Heightens Teen Driver Crash Risk Summer is the deadli- est time of year for teen drivers and passengers, with seven of the top 10 deadliest days of the year occurring between May and August. AAA urges parents to increase their focus on safety during the school-free months ahead: "Di]ring the summer. teens tend to drive more oftenand with less super- vision than they do during the school year," said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. "That's why AAA urges parents to establish a driving agree- ment that keeps teens off the road at night and restricts riding in cars with multiple passengers. This agreement should be in place all year long, but especially during the high- risksummer months." According to AAA, an average of 399 teens died in traffic crashes during each of the summer months (May-August), compared to a monthly average of 346 teen deaths during non-summer months. The seven most danger- ous days on the road for teens during summer are May 20, May 23, June vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen pas- sengers. Establish passen- ger limits and restrict teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver. • Restrict night driving. A teen driver's chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the high- est-risk late night hours, yet they should consider limiting evening driv- ing as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. • Teach your teens how to drive. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to learn how to drive. AAA offers a parent- taught driver's education kit called Take the Wheel AAA office. • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Writ- ten agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, pas- sengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driv- ing agreement on its teen driver safety website, Keys2Drive. The website also provides a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to- drive process. • Use driving training tools. Enhance your teen' s driving, critical think- ing and decision-making skills with driver training resources. AAA offers pro- grams like teenSMART, which can earn a very good that is inexpensive, totally discount on your teen's complete, certified by the AAAauto insurance upon Oklahoma Dept. of Public completion. Safety and qualifies teens for standard auto insurance Driver's Ed. discounts. And because it's certi- fied by the state as bona fide Driver's Ed., teens can drive at an earlier age under Oklahoma's Gradu- ated Driver Licensing law. Visit www.AAA.com/ TakeTheWheel or any Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice or a ride, they can call you at any time. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and that they will not be judged or punished should they need your help. help reduce the amount of solid feces that can leak into a pool. • Swimming in a well maintained swimming pool will reduce your likelihood of develop- ing an RWI as many of the germs are killed by chlorine. • Avoid swimming in a pool that has cloudy or off-colored water. It is especially important not to swim in a pool when you cannot see the main bottom drain. This summer, the lakes across Oklahoma will be filled with people having fun and staying cool. Lakes are not chlorinated and could pose a risk for an RWI. including pri- mary amebic meningoen- cephalitis (PAM). PAM is a very rare. usually fatal disease caused by an ameba that grows in very warm surface waters such as lakes, ponds, and rivers. The warm water temperatures of the hot summer months allow the ameba to multiply. PAM may be prevented by avoiding diving or dunking your head in warm, shallow bodies of fresh water. In addition, holding the nose shut or using nose clips will prevent the water from entering the nose. "Like last summer, blue-green algae con- tinue to be present in some Oklahoma lakes. Blue-green algae can produce toxins that result in illness in humans and animals," Neurohr contin- ued. "Direct contact with water that has a blue- green algae bloom can result in a skin rash; eye, ear and throat irritation; asthma-like symptoms; and diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps. Individuals are advised to avoid swimming or other recreational water activi- ties where mats of algae appear on the water." Drowning is another important concern. On average, 20 people drown in Oklahoma lakes each year. To reduce the risk of drowning, make sure that: Everyone knows how to swim and adults and older children know CPR. Children only swim in designated and well- supervised swimming areas. Children wear a properly-fitted life jacket or personal flota- tion device. Products such as swimming noodles and water wings are not safety devices they should never be used in the place of life jackets or personal flotation devices. All individuals use a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while boating or participating in boat- ing activities, such as water-skiing, regardless of swimming ability or experience, size of boat, or distance to be trav- eled. Remember. there is no substitute for active and continuous adult supervi- sion when children are in or around water, even if a lifeguard is in the area! Swimming pools pose their own set of risks. From 2007-2010, 51 children less than 5 years of age in Oklahoma drowned. More than half of these drownings occurred in swimming pools. Simple safety measures can be taken to prevent childhood drown- ing: • Install four-sided fenc- ing around residential pools. Completely sur- round the pool with fencing that separates the house and play area from the pool. Use self- closing and self-latching gates that open 6utward and that are out of reach from children. • Clear the pool and sur- rounding area of toys that may entice children to enter the pool area unsu- pervised and fall in. • Use locks or alarms for doors and windows in the home that open into a pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first. As with precautions at lakes, nothing takes the place of constant super- vision of children in swimming pools. Never leave children unsuper- vised for even a minute. People under the influ- ence of alcohol and drugs should not be supervising children. 10, July 4. July 9, Aug. 8 and Aug. 14. More than 16 teens are killed in car crashes on each of these days, on average: To keep teens safe (iur-ing these dangerous months and year round, AAA Insurance suggests the following tips for parents: o-Eliminate trips with- o uI purpose. Teens have threetimes as many fatal crashes as all other driv- ers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen's crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driv- ing. Limit teens' driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving. • Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19- MS patients learning to walk...again Students look around nervously, some giggling. The floor is littered with long pieces of tape, cush- ions and dots that look like they were ripped from a game of Twister. The teacher hands out sheets of paper and instructs stu- dents on the rules of Red Light, Green Light. But this isn't just another afternoon in a kindergarten classroom. The students are multiple sclerosis patients who are trying desperately to retain the ability to walk. And their "playground" is the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation' s Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease year-olds increase fivefold that damages the ability wli two or more teen of the nervous system to passengers are present carry signals to and from versus when teens drive the brain. As it progresses, alone. Also, riding in a MS makes it increasingly difficult for patients to control things like bal- ance, vision and coordina- tion, which are all integral to walking. MS Free FromFalls is an 8-week course designed by the National MS Society and focused on educating patients on the components of balance, safety, self-awareness and exercise. OMRF physical' therapist Amy Thiessen said the program, in con- junction with medication and a physician's care, can help students retain mobil- ity and avoid injury. The course is just one of many opportunities the MS Center of Excel- lence offers patients. "Fhe multi-disciplinary center combines innova- tive clinical treatment for more than 2,000 patients and cutting-edge research into diagnostics and emerging therapies. An important component of OMRF's comprehensive approach to MS care is giving patients ways to master day-to-day living skills, such as improving balance and mobility. "Balance is like a muscle," she said. "You kind of have to push the limits so that your brain steps up to the chal- lenge." The exercises are simple, yet effective. In one, students step for- ward and backward over gaps marked by tape. In another, they track moving objects with their eyes while standing on unsteady surfaces. "When your body is already struggling to obey orders, the last thing you need is tO fall and cause more damage," Thiessen said. "If we can use games and exercises to prepare for everyday challenges like crossing the street or walking on deep-pile carpet, then there's a better chance to prevent falls and additional inju- ries." For Norman resident Maureen Keller, the class couldn't come soon enough. Keller. who has had MS for 15 years; fell and broke her leg last year and hasspent 11 months rehabbing it. "MS and lack of balance contributed to my fall, and this class addresses both," she said. "It's also very helpful to have a class with others who are deal- ing with the disease. MS provides different chal- lenges to all of us." "The biggest takeaway from the class so far has been to pay more attention to my surroundings," she said. "I'm more aware of what might happen and how to guard against problems. I can look around and plan my day a bit better now." Patients interested in signing up for the next round of MS Free From Falls classes should con- tact Jennifer Philp at the Oklahoma chapter of the National MS Society at Jehnifer.philp @NMSS.org or 918-488-0882, exten- sion 35112. "The science and treat- ment Of multiple sclerosis have come incredibly far in Emily Teasdale, of the last decade," said Thies- Oklahoma City, said she sen "Patients don't have to was always a klutz, but surrender t0 MS. They can falling has been much fight to retain control, and more dangerous since she I think this class can be was diagnosed with MS a useful weapon in that in 1998. battle." :l[I ........................ [ ........ I_1_11 _=± ...... !1 [J  1 ...... : ............ l._J ...... IIIIIIIIIII IrLLl!lHlrll ..... I I I