Baltimore County News
Lucia Donatelli, MD
Chief, Bureau of Prevention, Protection, and Preparedness
Baltimore County Department of Health
Flip flops, barbecues and trips to the beach are all hallmarks of summer. Visits to the pool, baseball games and camping trips are also on that list. Summer is here and it brings with it all the joys of long sunny days and enjoying time outdoors. While all these things are enjoyed by many, it’s important to stay safe this season. Remembering one word makes summer safety simple. Enjoy yourself, because summer will be gone in a F.L.A.S.H.
Be sure to wash your hands and all food surfaces. Don't let bacteria spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Cook to the recommended temperature and use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of foods. Refrigerate food promptly to keep harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying on food.
Avoid tick-heavy areas. When outdoors or in the woods, wear insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET. Once coming indoors, immediately remove your clothing and check for ticks. If you find a tick, don't panic. Remove it with fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible and pull up with steady, even pressure until the tick backs out. Afterwards, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Provide your pet with ample shade and water. Never leave pets in cars.
Wear sunscreen, protective clothing, a hat and glasses to protect your skin and eyes. See a dermatologist if you see a change in any moles or freckles. This applies to all skin colors, because skin cancer can happen to anyone.
Stay indoors and use air conditioning when the temperatures and humidity are extremely high. Drink plenty of water. Check on elderly friends and neighbors.
Following these tips will help ensure that you, your family and pets have a safe and healthy summer.
Important Tips from Safety Experts
This kind of cold weather is not just unpleasant, it can be dangerous. Baltimore County’s safety experts have some important tips for protecting your home and family.
DPW Says Let Faucets Drip
Baltimore County’s Department of Public Works advises homeowners to let water taps drip during this week’s extreme cold weather. During single-digit temperatures last year, more than 500 water meters froze. Maintaining the flow with a slow drip, say County engineers, will usually keep water in the pipes from freezing, and save homeowners considerable grief.
Last February Baltimore City (which maintains and repairs the metropolitan water system) was swamped with requests to thaw frozen meters. With the County's help, water service was quickly restored. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Power Outage Precautions
Power outages can go side-by-side with winter storms. Lights go out and some lose heat. When this happens some of us turn to generators to keep warm and informed.
Generators produce carbon monoxide, CO, a deadly gas. Keep your generator at least 15 feet from the house or building. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding use and review the Fire Department’s safety tips for portable generators.
For those who have gas stoves and ovens, never use an oven to heat your home!
Ice Can be Dicey
Cold weather along with snow and ice can be dangerous. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to problems in the winter.
Beware of “black ice” when you leave your home or work. What appears to be a wet surface can be very slick ice. Be cautious and take your time walking on this winter treat. This warning applies to driving too! Many accidents occur when black ice forms.
Ice melting products should be kept near the door along with your shovel. And beware of steps and handrails; they can be treacherous if not wiped down and salted.
Don’t Overdo with the Shoveling
Anyone who has heart disease or chronic lung disease should not shovel snow or scrap ice. Shoveling is hard on the heart muscles and can cause a cardiac event. Ask a friend, neighbor or relative, or hire someone to clear the sidewalk and driveway.
Stay Warm and Dry
When venturing out in the cold, wear a hat or scarf, warm gloves or mittens, and warm, dry socks inside your boots. Wear a heavy coat, jacket or dress in layers. If the wind is blowing then wear a scarf across your face. Wind burn is hard on the skin just like sun burn. Wear sunscreen in the winter.
And last but not least, remember your pets. They feel the cold as much as you do and rely on you to keep them safe and warm.
Public Safety Office of Media and Communications
Better Fitness and Nutrition Enhances Overall Well-being
In the new year, there are more opportunities to be a better you at Baltimore County Senior Centers. And it is up to you to do more to map your own path to wellness in 2016.
With a holistic approach to eating better and exercising, you will discover wellness results – mind, body, and spirit.
And this year, the Baltimore County Department of Aging wants to assist you in meeting those goals. Take advantage of senior centers that offer a variety of programming that will inspire you to live well.
If You Want to Lose Weight
Each center offers fitness centers with the strength equipment and cardio aerobics classes.
You need muscle to burn more calories. With age, the body’s metabolism slows because of a loss of muscle. To counter this physiological effect, it is recommended that you do more weight-bearing and strength training exercises that will rev up the body’s metabolism.
However, weights and aerobics alone won’t do it though: what you put on your plate is vital to your success. Here are some recommended smart nutritional tips.
If You Want to Think Better
The cumulative effect of exercise and eating better has a more pronounced influence on the way we think and other Brain Matters.
Look for specific programming at your local senior center that will provide resources, activities and strategies to increase your brain fitness and health.
Here’s Why All of This is so Important…
Studies show that your digestive system is the feeding tube to your brain. Consistently eating high fat, tasty foods we love can lead to a myriad of health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the list goes on. With that, in some cases, comes issues of mental decline or brain fog.
You can learn about “power foods” and how to manage chronic diseases through the department’s evidence-based health education programs. It’s never too late to make physical and healthy lifestyle changes, which boost your mental vitality and will help increase your zest for life!
Wellness Specialist, BCDA Senior Centers Division
Revised April 6, 2016