Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

TESTING THE WATERS : A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches

[via blog post at Notions Capitol- Surf’s Up..]















Find a report on a beach by entering zip code at

From the Executive Overview at the Natural Defenses Research Council site

NRDC’s annual analysis of water quality and public notification data at coastal U.S. beaches found that the number of beach closing and advisory days in 2011 reached the third-highest level in the 22-year history of our report, totaling 23,481 days (a 3% decrease from 2010). More than two-thirds of closings and advisories were issued because bacteria levels in beachwater exceeded public health standards, indicating the presence of human or animal waste in the water. The portion of all monitoring samples that exceeded national recommended health standards for designated beach areas remained stable at 8% in 2011, compared with 8% in 2010 and 7% for the four previous years. In addition, the number of beaches monitored in 2011 increased slightly (2%) from a five-year low in 2010. The largest known source of pollution was stormwater runoff (47%, compared with 36% last year). The 2011 results confirm that our nation’s beaches continue to experience significant water pollution that puts swimmers and local economies at risk…


Polluted Beachwater Makes Swimmers Sick and Hurts Coastal Economies

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows each year.1..

..Illnesses associated with polluted beachwater include stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis. Children are especially vulnerable..

Quick Links for this report include

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Hits Home

Ocean Circulation Conveyor Belt. The ocean pla...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 8 August 2011 Huffington Post article by Wendy Gordon

Do you live in a climate-ready city? How prepared is your state for the challenges to health and the environment being caused by climate change-from the dangers of extreme heat and increased flooding to the spread of ragweed whose pollen causes allergies or mosquitoes that can spread disease?

NRDC just unveiled an incredible web interactive that lets you see how your state might be impacted by climate change. On the site,, you can see local data and maps detailing extreme weather patterns throughout the country, see local climate change vulnerabilities and learn about health problems in your own community that are connected to climate change….

The article also touches on these topics

  • Things to remember about plants and heat
  • Global warming and drinking water availability
  • Which US cities can adapt best to higher temperatures (generally Midwestern cities)
  • Where to go to find listings of most efficient appliances (Smarter Livings Top 10)
Comments below do indicate my respect for the persons who posted the comments as well as their views.
This does not necessarily mean I am in agreement with their views, just that the comments are presented civilly.
My deep thanks to all readers, especially those who comment or contact me with additional information and/or  enlightenment, including the reader(s) who posted below.

August 12, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

US Faces Growing Health Threats From Climate Change

Changes in climate and precipitation have fostered the spread of mosquitoes that can spread dengue fever in many areas of the United States, according to a new analysis. (Image: James Gathany/CDC)

From the 3 August 2011 News at JAMA article (Journal of the American Medical Association)


The United States faces growing health threats from infectious disease, extreme weather, and air pollution as a result of climate change, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published online today. Such effects are likely to be most pronounced in the Southeastern states, according to these findings.

The analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Climatic Data Center found that because of climate change, about half of the states are at risk of dengue fever outbreaks. Dengue fever viruses, which are transmitted by certain species of mosquitos, can cause infections with symptoms that may include high fever, headache, rash, pain, vomiting, and achy muscles and joints. In some cases, infection may result in dengue hemorrhagic fever, which also involves the development of blood spots under the skin and potentially fatal shock.

At least 28 states already have been colonized by the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus, and an estimated 173.5 million individuals live in these areas. Continued shifts in local climate and precipitation may increase the vulnerability of these areas to the spread of dengue, according to the analysis. But despite this growing concern, only 3 of the states at greatest risk—Florida, Maryland, and Virginia—have a plan in place for dealing with this potential health threat.

Other potential health risks related to climate change documented in the analysis include heat exhaustion and other complications related to extreme heat events, injuries caused by flooding, or exacerbations of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by increased smog, noted Jeremy Hess, MD, MPH, assistant professor of emergency medicine in Emory University’s schools of Medicine and Public Health in Atlanta, during a press briefing….

….The NRDC has posted maps ***online that allow individuals and public health officials to assess local risks. Additionally, the site provides information on what is included in the preparedness plans of states who have already begun planning for these climate change risks, which can serve as templates for other states or local areas, according to Knowlton.

These health risk maps by the Natural Resources Defense Council include state/county maps in these areas

  • Average number of extreme heat days
  • Areas vulnerable to Dengue Fever
  • Ozone Smog and Allergenic Ragweed

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | 2 Comments


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