Health
Thursday, November 08, 2012
 
Don't put yourself in harm's way

By Dr. Anthony Policastro In the past I have frequently written about safety. When Hurricane Sandy recently came through, I was reminded of the fact that people do not always think about safety. The good news is that many people went out and prepared for the hurricane. If they did so properly, then they probably over-prepared. That is what thinking safely is all about. Closures of activities are appropriate. Stocking up on items is appropriate. Moving away from a dangerous location is appropriate. However, not everybody thinks safety. As I read some of the news reports after the storm, it made me wonder how many people just don't get it. It was tragic that a fire in Breezy Point, N.Y., destroyed over 50 homes. What struck me was that the story included the fact that rescue workers had to rescue many people from the area. Breezy Point, as its name suggests, juts out into the Atlantic Ocean in southern Queens County. Residents were under a mandatory evacuation. The area was guaranteed to be flooded. Electricity was guaranteed to be lost. There was no logic in trying to ride out the storm in that location. The fact that the residents who stayed only lost their homes and not their lives kept the tragedy from being even worse. A second story had to do with individuals who were stranded in their neighborhood without electricity and food. They were angry that the rescue workers did not have enough food and that the food distribution center was not closer to their house. They needed to be angry at themselves for not having the good sense to get to an area that was safer. I had some relatives that lived in a basement apartment in the Rockaway Beach area of New York City. I advised them to follow the mandatory evacuation since they were only one block from the beach. They felt that I was being overdramatic. They probably felt less so when their basement apartment filled with water and destroyed everything they owned. There was a story out of New York City. A college student decided to take pictures of the storm. She stepped into water that contained a downed power line and was electrocuted. Accidents certainly will happen when there is a storm. A number of people were killed by falling trees that they could not have expected. However, the attitude that the weather forecasters are wrong or that the politicians are just grandstanding is a dangerous one. Mother Nature can be vicious. It can be an earthquake in Haiti, a Tsunami in Japan or a hurricane on the East Coast of the United States. Sometimes there is no way to prepare. Other times there are ways to minimize possible harm. Anyone who chooses not to do so only needs to look inward to find somebody to blame. Unfortunately, that assumes that they are still alive to do so.

Is your water safe for you to drink? The number one public health priority after a flood is safe drinking water. Delaware Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans to make sure your water is safe before drinking and bathing. If you are on a public water system, check the website of your water provider to make sure your water is safe for drinking and bathing. Eighty-five percent of Delawareans depend upon a public water system. Follow any purification instructions on your water provider's website. If you are among the 15 percent of Delawareans on a private well, DPH will provide free drinking water test kits to detect contamination from bacteria. Locally, test kits are available at the Adams State Service Center located at 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. Kits picked up from this site are returned here for testing and if the water is found to be contaminated, Public Health will contact you within 72 hours to provide guidance on cleaning up your well. The service center can be reached at 856-5496. If you are advised to boil your drinking water, heat water at the highest possible temperature so that it bubbles constantly (a rolling boil). Continue to boil water for one minute, and then let it cool. Store in clean, covered containers. Residents can also disinfect water using household bleach. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before using it. Bottled water is another safe alternative. DPH staff can provide information on mold, drinking water and food safety at 302-744-4546. For other questions, call the Delaware Helpline at 800-464-4357. For fact sheets on flood preparedness and recovery, visit the DPH website at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/floodhealthinfo.html.

Beware of mold after Sandy The American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic sends thoughts out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. With the passing of the hurricane, people are well aware of the damage a storm like this can have on their homes and neighborhoods, but it's also important to understand the harm a hurricane can do to a person's health. Damp basements and leaking roofs give mold a good chance to grow. Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people who are allergic to mold. Anyone, with or without allergies, may experience irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs when exposed to airborne mold particles. Breathing mold in is a hazard and could affect your family's lung health. Call a professional to help clean any mold growth that covers more than 10 square feet. For more information on your health after the storm, visit www.lung.org or the Hurricane and Flooding Resources page on the website.

'Aging Well' seminar on Nov. 15 Delaware Hospice and Nanticoke Senior Center invite the public to attend a unique, free seminar, "Aging Well: Prepare to Avoid Panic," on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Nanticoke Senior Center, 1001 West Locust St., Seaford.

Guests will hear several informative presentations on relevant topics and will also have the opportunity to visit information booths. Topics include: advance healthcare directives, power of attorneys, medical power of attorneys, elder law issues, estate planning, reverse mortgages, open enrollment for medicare, and more. A free lunch will also be served courtesy of Bimal Das, pharmacist at Nanticoke Pharmacy, Middleford Road, Seaford. Seating is limited, so call the Nanticoke Senior Center to make your reservation early at 629-4939.

NHS welcomes Dr. Sardi Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Gabriel Sardi, MD to its medical staff. Dr. Sardi joins Nanticoke Health Services as an interventional cardiologist at Nanticoke Cardiology located at 200 Federal St., Seaford. Dr. Sardi completed his cardiovascular disease fellowship at Lehigh Valley Healthcare Network/Penn State Medical College in Allentown, Pa. He completed his interventional cardiology fellowship at Washington Hospital/Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Sardi, who speaks English, Italian and Spanish, is board certified in internal medicine. To schedule an appointment, call Nanticoke Cardiology at 629-9099.

Survivors of Suicide program Delaware Hospice, the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition, and the Mental Health Association in Delaware will present a program to recognize the 13th anniversary of the National Survivors of Suicide on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. Keynote speaker, Jim Tkach, MEd, a suicide survivor, advocate, public speaker, and founder of the Bo Tkach Foundation, will discuss his son's strengths and struggles with depression from a parent's perspective. Local suicide survivors will participate in a Round Table Discussion, examining their experiences, strengths and hopes following the suicidal death of their spouse, parent, sibling or child. A lunch will be provided at no charge. The final session will be the candle lighting, viewing of the national videoconference, and closing ritual, offering a blend of emotional support, information about resources for healing, and question/answer panels with "seasoned" survivors and mental health professionals. Participants should bring a framed photo of their loved one for the Table of Remembrance. There is no charge for this program; however, registration is required as space is limited to 50 participants. Register by contacting Midge DiNatale, bereavement counselor, 856-7717, or mdinatale@delawarehospice.org.

Tobacco cessation classes Bayhealth's seven week Tobacco Cessation program offers support and guidance to help you quit using all tobacco products. The series of classes began Tuesday, Nov. 6 and is held every Tuesday for seven weeks, ending on Dec. 18. The class will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rehab Conference Room at Bayhealth Milford Memorial. This series of classes offers strategies to improve your lifestyle through behavior modification, diet, stress reduction, exercise and nicotine replacement therapy. The "quit week" is the fourth week of the program. This program is free to all Delaware residents. Call 1-877-453-7107 to register. You must be at least 18 to register and be able to attend all sessions. For more info, or to register for the next series, call Bayhealth Clinical Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 744-6724.

HNMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Hospice offers Grief workshop Anyone coping with loss will benefit from a workshop, "Grief 101," which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. This workshop will help you learn about how to cope with your grief or that of a family member. The discussion will include, "What to Expect While Grieving," and "Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Feelings of Grief." "Grief 101" is free and open to the public as a community outreach of Delaware Hospice. However, registration is required as space is limited. For more information on the Grief 101 workshop being held at Delaware Hospice, Contact Chet Carbaugh, bereavement counselor, at 856-7717 or ccarbaugh@delawarehospice.org.