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Tag Archive | "Michiganders"

Michiganders urged to take precautions against norovirus


Norovirus illness often peaks in winter. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has identified increases in norovirus activity recently and is urging Michigan residents to take precautions to stay healthy.

Although several viruses can cause vomiting and diarrhea, norovirus is the most common. These viruses are easily spread through food, by person-to-person contact or through contaminated surfaces. Therefore, take caution if someone in your household is ill. Norovirus infection is sometimes described “stomach flu” but it is not related to influenza (flu), a respiratory viral illness that can cause fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and sore throat. (See page 12 for more about influenza and other respiratory illnesses.)

Norovirus often causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping, but infected people may also have a low-grade fever, headache, weakness and muscle aches. Symptoms can begin as early as 12 hours after exposure to the virus or as late as 72 hours. The symptoms of norovirus usually last one to three days. In most cases, ill individuals fully recover without medical attention.

However, norovirus infection may result in hospitalization due to dehydration, especially in the very young and elderly. Individuals with severe diarrhea should drink lots of liquids. Symptoms that are not seen with norovirus infection are bloody diarrhea or high fever. If these symptoms develop, contact your medical provider.

The best way to limit the spread of these viruses is frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm running water, being sure to completely clean all areas of hands and under fingernails. This is especially important after using the bathroom or before preparing or eating food.

Preventing contamination of food, drinks, water and ice is also very important. People who have been sick with vomiting and diarrhea should not prepare or serve food to others for at least three days after their symptoms are gone. One-third cup of bleach diluted with one gallon of water is the most effective way to disinfect surfaces. Bleach should be used in well-ventilated areas. Hand sanitizers are ineffective against the virus.

Norovirus can remain on a variety of surfaces for extended periods of time. Doorknobs, faucets, sinks, toilets, bath rails, phones, counters, chairs, tables, hand rails, light switches, keyboards and other high-touch surfaces should be disinfected more frequently, but especially within a 25-foot radius after a vomiting incident. Steam clean carpets and upholstery and launder clothes or linens contaminated with vomit or feces on the hottest setting.

Additional information about norovirus can be found at CDC.gov/norovirus.

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Heart Month


 

The number one killer can strike anyone of any age

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

February is American Heart Month. Many women will wear red to work on Friday, February 5, to call attention to women’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

February is American Heart Month. Many women will wear red to work on Friday, February 5, to call attention to women’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

Michiganders are reminded to keep hearts on their minds as February begins, and not just the Valentine kind. It’s American Heart Month, an annual observance to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease, the nation’s number one killer.

Anna Pitt of Hemlock says she’s lucky to be alive after suffering what’s known as a “widow maker” heart attack, which comes on suddenly. She was getting her son on the school bus when she collapsed.

“They told me at that time I had no pulse,” says Pitt. “They used the defibrillator on me in the driveway, and also three times on the way to the hospital. Now, they said if my son hadn’t done CPR I wouldn’t be here.”

Pitt explains that she had had no symptoms, and with good cholesterol and blood pressure would have never imagined she would be the victim of a heart attack. And because it can save a life, her advice for Michiganders during American Heart Month is to get certified in CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, one-in-three women will die of heart disease, about 46 women in Michigan each day.

Stacy Sawyer, senior director of communications with the American Heart Association in Michigan, says while family history can play a large role in a person’s chance of developing heart disease, there are other risk factors that can be controlled such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking. But she adds heart disease can affect anyone of any age.

“Even newborns who are born with congenital heart defects to the elderly,” says Sawyer. “We have survivors who are just in their 20s. So heart disease is something that everyone of every age needs to be aware of and be proactive against it.”

Sawyer recommends everyone knows their numbers, their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, and speak to their doctor about ways to reduce their risk of heart disease.

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