Tuesday, November 29, 2011

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day will be recognized on Thursday, December 1. This observance marks the day when people from different countries, cities, and towns unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and observe the countless lives lost to AIDS. The day gives people the opportunity to commemorate the accomplishments and achievements that have been reached so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It also is a reminder to researchers, advocates, and affected and infected individuals the work that remains to be done.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as of 2009 the number of people living with HIV reached 33.3 million globally. The numbers of people newly infected with HIV was 2.6 million. AIDS-related deaths reached 1.8 million people.

Maine is not immune to the epidemic; as the end of 2010, there were 1,563 people living with diagnosed HIV in Maine, with 59 cases diagnosed in 2010 alone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving

Here are some tips and resources to make sure you have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

Managing Diabetes

Having diabetes shouldn't stop you from enjoying holiday celebrations and travel. With some planning and a little work, you can stay healthy on the road and at holiday gatherings with friends and family.

The most important step in managing diabetes during holiday travel and festivities is preparing. Know what you'll be eating, how to enjoy a few traditional favorites while sticking with a healthy meal plan, and how to pack necessary supplies for a trip, and you're all set to celebrate!

Family Health History

The best way to learn about your family health history is to ask questions. Family gatherings during holidays like Thanksgiving provide an opportunity to talk about and record your family's health information—it could make a difference in your child's life.

Your family health history could be important for determining your child's health risks. Learn more about how to document your family's health history and share it with your child's doctor.

Food Safety

HolidayFoodSafety.org has resources on purchasing, preparing, and storing food for holidays as well as shopping checklists and recipes.

Make sure you know how to cook safely to prevent scalds, burns, and fires.

The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services created this 7-minute video on holiday food safety.

And make sure you know how to treat your leftovers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great American Smokeout

The 36th Great American Smokeout will be held Nov. 17, encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

In addition, the Maine Tobacco HelpLine (1-800-207-1230) celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. The HelpLine has served more than 75,000 customers in 10 years, reaching an average of 3% of smokers annually – a rate that is ranked fourth in the U.S.

The HelpLine is one facet of the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine (PTM). The adult smoking rate in Maine has dropped from 30% when PTM began in 1997 to 18% in 2010.

One of the hardest things to do is to quit using tobacco. Quitting is a process and sometimes it takes more than one try. The HelpLine offers support that can help people stay tobacco-free for life. The Maine Tobacco HelpLine answers questions and offers friendly support to those who are thinking about quitting or who are ready to quit smoking, or those who want to help a friend or family member quit.

For more information, visit http://www.tobaccofreemaine.org/ 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


 There have been about 150 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) reported in Maine so far in 2011, compared with 53 for all of 2010 and 80 in 2009. About 64% of 2011 cases have been in residents of Penobscot County. Clusters of pertussis have been reported in schools, camps, sport teams, and workplaces.

Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine-preventable respiratory disease that can last for many weeks. It is spread from person to person through the air.  The first signs of pertussis are similar to a cold (sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and a cough).  After one or two weeks, the cough gets worse.  For example:
  • The cough occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts where one cough follows the next without a break for breath.
  • Many children will make a high-pitched whooping sound when breathing in after a coughing episode.  Whooping is less common in infants and adults.
  • After a coughing spell, the person may throw up.
  • The person may look blue in the face and have a hard time breathing. 
  • The cough is often worse at night.
  • Between coughing spells, the person seems well, but the illness is exhausting over time.
  • Over time, coughing spells become less frequent, but may continue for several weeks or months.

Pertussis can be very serious, especially in infants. The most common complication of pertussis is bacterial pneumonia. Rare complications include seizures, inflammation of the brain, and death.

Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics, but treatment may not cure the coughing right away.

The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with Tdap for pre-teens, teens, and adults. Clinicians should check the vaccine status of their patients to make sure they are up to date for their age. A summary of pertussis vaccine recommendations broken down by age and other life factors is available at http://go.usa.gov/ITj

For More Information:

Friday, November 4, 2011

HPV Vaccine Questions and Answers


Thursday, November 3, 2011

American Diabetes Month

The President has proclaimed November to be National Diabetes Month.

You have the power to prevent and control diabetes. If you already have diabetes, work to lower your risk of serious complications. If you don't have the disease, learn if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

America is facing an epidemic of diabetes, a serious disease that damages bodies and shortens lives. In the next four decades, the number of US adults with diabetes is estimated to double or triple, according to US CDC scientists. That means anywhere from 20 to 33 percent of adults could have the disease. About 1 in 9 adults have diabetes now, and it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

If you already have diabetes, managing the disease can lower your risk of complications such as kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputations of legs and feet. Here are some important steps to take to control diabetes:
  • Talk to your health care provider about how to manage your blood glucose (A1c), blood pressure, and cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking and do not use any other tobacco products.
  • Get a flu vaccine. For those with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, it is important to ask for the "shot" version. Talk to your health care provider about a pneumonia (pneumococcal) shot. People with diabetes are more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes. CDC recommends that everybody aged 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, including family members of people with diabetes.
  • Reach or stay at a healthy weight.
  • Make sure you're physically active. Plan for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of moderate physical activity, such as walking quickly or gardening, or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or jumping rope. Add muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. Physical activity can help you control your weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure, as well as raise your "good" cholesterol and lower your "bad" cholesterol.

Ways You Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Having a condition called prediabetes means you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 3 to 6 years. People with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. An estimated one of every three U.S. adults has prediabetes, yet just 7% of those with prediabetes know they have it. Prediabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Click below to learn whether or not you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.


Prediabetes Screening Test

Research trials have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in people at high risk for the disease who make lifestyle changes. Weight loss of 5 to 7 percent (about 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week can reduce or delay the development of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. You can find written and electronic resources to help through the National Diabetes Education Program, sponsored by US CDC and the National Institutes of Health, and community-based group classes through the US CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.

For more information, visit Maine CDC’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program