Monday, August 27, 2012

Take Safety Precautions to Keep Safe from West Nile Virus

Texas has seen a large increase in people infected with the West Nile Virus and Cell Phone Sally wants to help keep you protected. West Nile is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause serious illness or death, especially for those over 50 years old or with weakened immune systems.

Texas officials declared a state of emergency last week when the virus broke out, specifically in the Dallas area. With this declaration, they were able to get access to emergency state funds in order to help control the outbreak. While officials are doing their part to keep citizens safe, there are still things you can do at home to keep from contacting West Nile Virus.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, your best defense is to practice the “Four Ds”:
1.    Make sure to use insect repellent containing “DEET”, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
2.    Dress in long sleeved shirts and pants whenever you are outside.

3.    Refrain from going outside at Dawn and Dusk because this is the time when mosquitoes are most active.

4.    Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Some common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.

Symptoms of those infected with West Nile Virus include headache, fatigue, rashes and swollen lymph glands. The illness can last a few days to several weeks. Most people infected by West Nile do not show any symptoms. But in about 20% of cases, symptoms do appear and usually between three and 14 days after the bite. If you think you could potentially be infected, do not hesitate to get medical attention.


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Importance of Eye Health in Children

August is recognized as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month as well as National Children’s Vision and Learning Month. As kids prepare for the new school year, they should make sure to have eye screenings to guarantee their eyes are working properly and effectively. Vision problems can affect 1 in 4 children which is why it is so important to have their eyes checked.
While everyone should have their eyes checked regularly for damage, children should especially because they are more susceptible to UV damage since they spend more time outside than most adults. Regardless of your age though, it is always a good idea to wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to shield eyes from harsh damaging rays.
The Center for Disease Control recommends that children start getting their eyes checked before they are three months old. They should have them checked again at six months to one year, then at three years and again at five years old. If there is any family history of vision problems, this is especially important. In some cases, kids who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities may actually be suffering from vision problems instead.
Besides taking children in regularly for eye check-ups, what other signs can parents look for to know if their child is suffering with a vision problem? Here are some key signs that could mean taking your child in for a vision check-up:
-Closing or covering one eye
-Squinting eyes to see or frowning
-Rubs eyes frequently
-Complaining about things being blurry or hard to see
-Having trouble reading
-Holding objects close to the eye in order to see them
-Blinks more than usual

It is important that parents look out for these issues so that they can make sure their child is not suffering from vision problems. It is also important for parents to make sure their kids wear protective eye wear when playing sports, doing science experiments, or any craft that could potentially hurt the eyes. And if a chemical gets in the eye, make sure to flush it with water right away and call a Poison Control Center if needed. The Poison Control number is 1-800-222-1222.

More Information on Vision: | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Monday, August 13, 2012

National Immunization Awareness Month Recognized in August

National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect time to get up-to-date on vaccinations and shots for the current year- and this goes for both adults and children. While babies have immunizations they must get to help them stay healthy, adults also need shots to keep themselves healthy as well!

Flu shots are a perfect example. Everyone over the age of 6 months needs a seasonal flu shot yearly to best protect themselves from contracting the flu. Other shots can protect against infectious diseases such as measles, diphtheria and rubella. There are still many cases of people becoming ill and dying from these vaccine-preventable diseases. This is why it is so important to get them and make sure the rest of your family and friends know when to get these vaccines in order to keep everyone around you healthy!
Make an appointment with your doctor or nurse to discuss what shots are best at each age. Children need a series of shots from birth until age 6 while pre-teens need recommended shots around age 11 or 12. Shots for young children help protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis. Pre-teens need shots to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, and HPV. As far as adults go, they usually need a Td booster shot every ten years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. Lastly, people age 65 or older need a one-time pneumonia shot.
Visit your doctor today to find out what could help protect you and your family from diseases! Here are some great tools to help you figure out what shots are best for you and your family:

Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz (   
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (
National Immunization Awareness Month

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Public Educator Forum Conference in San Antonio is a Success for All!

Last week, the second annual 9-1-1 NPEF Conference took place in San Antonio. With nearly 80 attendees representing 15 different states including Mexico, this event was a testament to how valuable public education is to all of these participants. Throughout the four-day event, participants were able to gain insight on a variety of topics presented by peers within the public education industry. Public educators learned more about areas that they needed to improve upon or simply were not aware of, while other educators learned more about the value of partnering with presentations from NG9-1-1 Institute, NENA, and Smart911. A social media presentation at the conference greatly helped attendees get a better view of how to incorporate this technology into their daily outreach, while more traditional methods of media campaigns were explained by seasoned media production professionals. Lessons learned from the 2011 conference were also shared by several attendees that attended last year and 9-1-1 directors from Illinois, Louisiana and Texas presented their director’s vision for 9-1-1 outreach. Overall the conference was a great success and we look forward to attending in 2013!

Below are a few tips worth sharing from the conference:

-No matter what your public education budget, you can make a difference! Whether it be being creative with office supplies to branding yourself online for free through Facebook, blogging and Twitter.
-The use of a mascot makes a huge impact on public education. Not only does it create a character with an important message that kids gravitate towards, but it also makes getting your message out easier, educational and fun!
-A great public education tool is partnering with another organization or government entity for events as well as making the public aware of tools, products and services that are available to the community
-Remember- no task is too big to take on, as long as we are all willing to work together to make public education the best it can be!

For more ideas, tips or information on what was presented at the NPEF Conference contact Patti Davis at or Robert Gonzalez at For more information on NPEF, visite

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month!

It’s that time again to prepare yourself and kids for kindergarten! Kindergarten is usually the start for many children beginning their academic career and a time when children learn more cognitive lessons that prepare them for everyday life situations.  So what can you do to prepare yourself for this transition to go as smoothly as possible? Here are a few tips to prepare your kids and you for kindergarten.
Kindergarten teachers play a huge role in the start of a child’s scholastic career and they are there to help and educate your kids. The teacher will most likely provide a list on the first day of school of supplies the child will need. Make sure to write your child’s name in permanent marker on the list of supplies to help them keep up with their own supplies. For a list of tips from teachers, check out the following link:
Make sure to discuss school on a regular basis so that your kids will have an idea of what to expect. Explain about teachers, learning new things and making new friends. And make sure to answer all their questions too! It is also a great idea to start working on academics at home. Make learning fun and let them know that exercising their brain is an excellent way to store and remember information. An easy way to do this is to start with making sure your child knows the alphabet, can distinguish between lowercase and uppercase letters, and can count numbers (an example would be counting how many fingers or toes they have).
Children need a lot of rest, and now is a great time to start preparing them for bed a little earlier so that their bodies can adjust to the school year, and the times they will need to be awake and ready to learn new things. It is also a great idea to take your child or children by the school so they can get familiar with the location and area. Implementing a school routine starting in August will also help children adjust better to kindergarten. Children must also be healthy and up-to-date on all their shots so it is also a great idea to set up a physical for the child.
Children are not the only ones who need to prepare for kindergarten- parents need to as well! Here is a good list of questions parents can ask themselves as they prepare for the new school year:
-Are there any forms that I need to fill out?
-What immunizations are required for school entry?
-How do you register for school?
-What are the principal and teacher’s names?
-What is the policy on lunches and snacks?
-What are the procedures from getting to and from school?

Kindergarten is a big step for kids and parents alike so make sure you are prepared!

Check out this vido on starting kindergarten:

Click this link for a list of what children should know upon entering kindergarten: