HAHRC BEATS: Public Health is a return on investment

April 1 marked the start of National Public Health Week. The theme of the week is “Public Health is ROI (Return on Investment): Save Lives, Save Money.”

Prevention is key: Our public health system can prevent disease, save lives and curb health care spending.

We know that chronic diseases are a serious problem, as are the rising costs of healthcare. We can improve health by supporting broader public health programs in our community and taking steps at home. Try these ideas to celebrate public health:

Monday: Make sure your home is safe for your family

Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Make a plan for how you would evacuate from your home if there were an emergency.

Store cleaning supplies and medicines in locked cabinets out of the reach of children.

Tuesday: Provide a safe place for children at school

Make sure there are actions against bullying.

Create a safe space for kids who are being bullied to get help.

Volunteer for school health education efforts that teach kids to say no to tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

Wednesday: Create a healthy workplace

Educate employees in English and Spanish as needed about workplace safety regulations and train them to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings.

Create a work setting where workers feel at ease in reporting unsafe work conditions or workplace abuse.

Take simple steps to create workplace wellness, like posting reminders to wash hands, offering health foods at meetings or organizing workplace walking groups.

Thursday: Protect yourself while you’re on the move

Buckle up and make sure kids are too; either in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. Call the Commission on Children and Families with questions about car seats (541-386-2500).

Don’t text, eat or use the phone while driving. Learn more at www.distraction.gov.

Don’t drink and drive, let others drink and drive, or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.

Friday: Empower a healthy community

Stay up to date on recommended shots for yourself and your loved ones.

Support local farmers markets. It’s good for your health and it’s good for the local economy.

Look up the national Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to see how much physical activity you should get each day: visit www.health.gov/paguidelines to learn more.

These helpful tips come from the American Public Health Association for National Public Health Week. For more information visit: www.nphw.org.


Lauren M. Kraemer, M.P.H., serves on the Extension Family and Community Health Faculty, Oregon State University/Wasco and Hood River County Extension.

Healthy Active Hood River County is our community healthy living coalition. HAHRC promotes wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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