Tuesday, December 26, 2017

EPA Releases Draft Risk Assessments for Glyphosate

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing for public comment the draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate, one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States.
The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.  The Agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.  The Agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey..."

Friday, December 22, 2017

National Homeless Person's Memorial Day

"This day serves to raise awareness of those who don’t have a place to call home, and to remember those who have died as a result of being homeless. Since 1990, our country has observed National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.
As we approach the close of another year, we recognize Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day (HPMD) on the 21st day of December. The events held around the Nation honor those who have died because they did not have shelter, as well as serve as reminders of the countless hardships and risks people who experience homelessness continue to face.

Compared to the general population, people who experience homelessness are at greater risk of infectious and chronic illness, poor mental health, and substance abuse. They are also more often victims of violence, prior to and once homelessness. Homeless persons also have a mortality rate four to nine times higher than those who are not homeless. With an estimated 40 million Americans living in poverty, 19 million experiencing housing insecurity, and 28 million without health insurance, the risk of homelessness and poor health is a concern for 1 out of 8 Americans..."
Homeless Person's Memorial Day

Understanding the Speech or Debate Clause

"The Speech or Debate Clause (Clause) of the U.S. Constitution states that “[F]or any Speech or Debate in either House,” Members of Congress (Members) “shall not be questioned in any other Place.” The Clause serves various purposes: principally to protect the independence and integrity of the legislative branch by protecting against executive or judicial intrusions into the protected legislative sphere, but also to bar judicial or executive processes that may constitute a “distraction” or “disruption” to a Member’s representative or legislative role. Despite the literal text, protected acts under the Clause extend beyond “speeches” or “debates” undertaken by Members of Congress, and have also been interpreted to include all “legislative acts” undertaken by Members or their aides..."
Speech and Debate Clause

Presenting the City of Savannah

"The culmination of Sherman’s "March to the Sea" was the capture of Savannah. With savage irony, Sherman invoked the spirit of Christmas as he informed his Commander-in-Chief that Savannah was taken, complete with 150 heavy guns, plenty of ammunition, and 25,000 bales of cotton. President Lincoln was thrilled to hear this news, which he immediately publicized throughout the nation.

Telegram from General William T. Sherman to President Abraham Lincoln announcing rhe surrender of Savannah, Georgia, as a Christmas to the President. 12/22/1864..." 
Sherman and Savannah

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Additional Statistics on Harassment in the Congressional Workplace

"As part of the Committee on House Administration’s extensive review of sexual harassment and discrimination in the congressional workplace, Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) received additional information on the statistics of settlements and awards from the Office of Compliance (OOC). The OOC provided the Committee with additional statistics of settlements and awards paid by type of claims as a result of cases originating with an employing office in the House of Representatives from FY2008 – FY2012..."
Harassment in Congressional Workplace

2016 Annual Survey of Manufactures: General Statistics, Value of Products Shipments, Industry-Product Analysis and Geographic Area Statistics

"The 2016 Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) release includes general statistics, value of products shipments, industry-product analysis and geographic area statistics for 2015 and 2016. The ASM provides data about manufacturing that are crucial to accurate estimates of domestic production and productivity and to making sound decisions on economic trade policies. Companies, business analysts and trade associations use this data in planning investments, production and marketing..."
Annual Survey of Manufacturers

Historical Versions of the United States Code Now Online

"More than 60 years of U.S. laws are now published online and accessible for free for the first time after being acquired by the Library of Congress. The Library has made available the main editions and supplements of the United States Code from 1925 through the 1988 edition

The U.S. Code is a compilation of federal laws arranged by subject by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. The Library’s U.S. Code Collection is fully searchable. Filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, title and/or subject. PDF versions of each chapter can be viewed and downloaded.

The collection is online at loc.gov/collections/united-states-code/. This provides access to editions of the U.S. Code that previously were not available to the public online for free..."
U.S. Code Online

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kidney Disease and Your Heart: What’s the Connection?

"Your heart health is tied to your kidney health. In fact, having kidney disease puts you at risk for getting heart disease. And having heart disease puts you at risk for kidney disease. Learn how these two diseases are connected and how you can lower your risk for both with a few simple steps.

What Is Kidney Disease?

The kidneys are two organs, each about as big as a fist and shaped like a kidney bean. As the heart pumps blood throughout the body, kidneys clean it, remove waste, help maintain blood pressure, and ensure the blood has the right amounts of certain nutrients and minerals.
Kidney disease means the kidneys are damaged. Experts think that more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults, or about 30 million people, have chronic kidney disease (disease lasting longer than 3 months). Most people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. Often, people with early kidney disease feel fine and do not have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure whether you have kidney disease is to get blood and urine tests.

How Does Kidney Disease Affect the Heart?

Damaged kidneys put extra stress on the heart. The damage prevents the kidneys from cleaning waste and extra fluids from the blood and body. When waste and extra fluid stay in the body, people can have other health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. People with kidney disease are much more likely to die from heart disease than kidney problems..."
Kidney Disease & your heart

Prevent Rotavirus

"Rotavirus causes diarrhea and spreads easily among infants and young children. Some children may get severe diarrhea, become dehydrated and need to be hospitalized. You can protect your child with rotavirus vaccine.
Rotavirus disease is common among infants and young children. Rotavirus can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Some children with rotavirus disease lose a lot of fluids and become very dehydrated. As a result, they may need to be hospitalized and can even die.

Rotavirus spreads easily among children. A child can get rotavirus by accidently getting (stool) poop into their mouth from another child who has rotavirus. This can happen if a child puts their unwashed hands or a contaminated object, food, or liquids into their mouth. In the United States, children are more likely to get rotavirus from December to June..."

National Security Strategy of the United States, Dec. 2017

" My Fellow Americans:
The American people elected me to make America great again. I promised that my Administration would put the safe , interests, and well-being of our citizens fi rst. I pledged that we would revitalize the American economy, rebuild our military, defend our borders, protect our sovereignty, and advance our values.

During my first year in office, you have witnessed my America First foreign policy in action. We are prioritizing the interests of our citizens and protecting our sovereign rights as a nation. America is leading again on the world stage. We are not hiding from the challenges we face. We are confronting them head-on and pursuing opportunities to promote the securi and prosperi of all Americans.

Th e United States faces an extraordinarily dangerous world, fi lled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. When I came into office, rogue regimes were developing nuclear weapons and missiles to threaten the entire planet. Radical Islamist terror groups were fl ourishing. Terrorists had taken control of vast swaths of the Middle East. Rival powers were aggressively undermining American interests around the globe. At home, porous borders and unenforced immigration laws had created a host of vulnerabilities. Criminal cartels were bringing drugs and danger into our communities. Unfair trade practices had weakened our economy and exported our jobs overseas. Unfair burden-sharing with our allies and inadequate investment in our own defense had invited danger from those who wish us harm. Too many Americans had lost trust in our government, faith in our future, and confidence in our values..."
President Donald J. Trump.
National Security Strategy

The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks

"As congressional policymakers continue to debate telecommunications reform, a major discussion point revolves around what approach should be taken to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. The move to place restrictions on the owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet, to ensure equal access and nondiscriminatory treatment, is referred to as “net neutrality.” While there is no single accepted definition of “net neutrality,” most agree that any such definition should include the general principles that owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network, and they should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its February 26, 2015, open meeting voted 3-2, along party lines, to adopt open Internet rules and released these rules on March 12, 2015. One of the most controversial aspects of the rules was the decision to reclassify broadband Internet access service as telecommunications service under Title II, thereby subjecting Internet service providers to a more stringent regulatory framework. With limited exceptions, the rules went into effect June 12, 2015. Various parties challenged the legality of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in a June 14, 2016, ruling, voted (2-1) to uphold the legality of all aspects of the 2015 FCC Order. A petition for full U.S. Appeals Court review was denied but parties have petitioned for U.S. Supreme Court review.

The FCC on December 14, 2017, adopted (3-2) an Order that largely reverses the 2015 regulatory framework. The 2017 Order, among other things, reverses the 2015 classification of broadband internet access services as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, shifts much of the oversight from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, and provides for a less regulatory approach..."
Net neutrality

Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress

"Cluster munitions are air-dropped or ground-launched weapons that release a number of smaller submunitions intended to kill enemy personnel or destroy vehicles. Cluster munitions were developed in World War II and are part of many nations’ weapons stockpiles. Cluster munitions have been used frequently in combat, including the early phases of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cluster munitions have been highly criticized internationally for causing a significant number of civilian deaths, and efforts have been undertaken to ban and regulate their use. The Department of Defense (DOD) continues to view cluster munitions as a military necessity but in 2008 instituted a policy to reduce the failure rate of cluster munitions to 1% or less after 2018.

In November 2017, a new DOD policy was issued that essentially reversed the 2008 policy. Under the new policy, combatant commanders can use cluster munitions that do not meet the 1% or less unexploded submunitions standard in extreme situations to meet immediate warfighting demands. In addition, the new policy does not establish a deadline to replace cluster munitions exceeding the 1% rate and states that DOD “will retain cluster munitions currently in active inventories until the capabilities they provide are replaced with enhanced and more reliable munitions.”

Potential issues for Congress include cluster munitions in an era of precision weapons, other weapons in lieu of cluster munitions, and the potential impact of DOD’s 2017 revised cluster munitions policy.
Cluster munitions

Proclamation of the Secretary of State announcing the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, December 18, 1865

"Proclamation of the Secretary of State announcing the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, December 18, 1865; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.

Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Secretary of State William H. Seward issued this Proclamation announcing the ratification on December 18, 1865..."
13th Amendment to the Constitution

National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2017

"he National Do Not Call Registry Data Bookcontains statistical data about phone numbers on the Registry, telemarketers and sellers accessing phone numbers on the Registry, and complaints consumers submit to the FTC about telemarketers allegedly violating the Do Not Call rules. Statistical data on Do Not Call (DNC) complaints is based on unverified complaints reported by consumers, not on a consumer survey..."
Do Not Calll Registry

FTC Offers Information on Fraud Alerts, Credit Freezes and Locks

"After the Equifax data breach, some people are considering placing a fraud alert, freeze, or lock on their credit file to help prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in their name.

To help consumers decide on a course of action, a Federal Trade Commission blog post, Fraud alert, freeze or lock after Equifax? FAQs, describes each option and how it works, how long it lasts, and how much it costs.

And to help business owners inform their customers, the FTC offers Fraud alert, freeze or lock after Equifax? Answers to questions people are asking you.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow us on Twitter(link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources..."
Fraud Alerts

2020 Census Faces Challenges in Rural America

"The 2020 Census will have ramifications for every person in the United States, urban and rural residents alike.1  Interest in the Census is growing2 and the Census Bureau’s plans are becoming more concrete,3 but little has been written about the special challenges that will make some rural areas and populations difficult to enumerate accurately.

This brief identifies rural areas where special outreach and operations will be needed to get a complete and accurate count. It also addresses key Census-related issues that will be important for rural leaders to monitor between now and April 1, 2020
Hard-to-Count Places and Populations in Rural America
The Census is intended to be a complete count of everyone in the country, but people are always missed, that is, undercounted, and people in some places and groups are more likely to be missed than others. Groups most likely to be missed are called hard-to-count (HTC) populations, and places most likely to be missed are called hard-to-count areas.
Hard-to-Count Characteristics in Urban and Rural Areas

The Census Bureau has identified twelve characteristics associated with low mail response rates and census undercounts. Ten of these are shown in Table 1, along with percentages for urban and rural areas based on the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey.5 A higher value in Table 1 indicates that the population is more difficult to count..."
2020 Census and Rural America
via: [Willaim O'Hare. University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy]

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Telemedicine Increases Diabetic Eye Exams

"Early diagnosis through screening and treatment of diabetes-related eye disease is 90% effective in preventing blindness. More participants were screened for eye disease at local health clinics using telemedicine than when referred out to eye care providers.
Oregon Health and Science University Prevention Research Center (PRC) is researching the effectiveness of using telemedicine to prevent blindness from diabetic retinopathy.
The leading cause of blindness in working-age adults is eye disease related to poorly managed diabetes.1 Diabetic retinopathy is significant because an 83% increase in diabetes is expected— 24 million in 2009 to 44 million by 2034.1
Minority populations including American Indian/Alaska Natives are two times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.1 There is a 78% chance that people with poorly managed diabetes for more than 15 years will develop eye disease..."
Telemedicine and diabetes

Cancer, the Flu, and You

"Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.
Living with cancer increases your risk for complications from influenza (“flu”). If you have cancer now or have had cancer in the past, you are at higher risk for complications from the seasonal flu or influenza, including hospitalization and death.

Get Your Flu Shot!

People with cancer or a history of cancer, and people who live with or care for cancer patients and survivors, should get a seasonal flu shot. Immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from flu. Also, aging decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting a flu shot. Two vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older—
For more information, see What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older..."
Cancer and flu

A Child’s Health is the Public’s Health

"Preparing for unexpected events is an important part of keeping children safe and healthy all year long. Events like the spread of a serious infection, an explosion, an earthquake, or a weather event, such as a hurricane, may cause health problems for large numbers of people, and especially for children.
Children make up one in four people in the United States and they have special needs during and after emergencies. Although younger children are often more affected than adults during disasters, there are concerns for children of all ages during emergencies because
  • Children may not be able to follow directions or make decisions to keep them away from danger during a disaster.
  • Children’s bodies use energy quicker than adults’ do, and they need food and water more often. This means that they will absorb poisons or dangerous chemicals faster than adults will.
  • Children have thinner skin and breathe faster than adults do, making them more likely to take in harmful substances through the skin or breathe them in.."
    Children's health

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

"Prior to 1984, neither federal civil service employees nor Members of Congress paid Social Security taxes, nor were they eligible for Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act (P.L. 98-21) required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (P.L. 99- 335)..."
Congressional retirement benefits

New American Community Survey Statistics Provide Local Data for Every Community Nationwide

"The nation experienced an increase in commuting time, median gross rent and a rise in English proficiency among those who spoke another language. These are only a few of the statistics released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates data release, which features more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics, including homeowner rates and costs, health insurance and educational attainment.

“The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how people live and work, year-to-year,” said David Waddington, chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division. “It’s our country’s only source of small area estimates for socio-economic and demographic characteristics. These estimates help people, businesses and governments throughout the country better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.”

The survey produces statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties. In addition, it is the only full dataset available for three-fourths of all counties with populations too small to produce a complete set of single-year statistics (2,322 counties). Each year, Census Bureau data helps determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding are spent on infrastructure and services, from highways to schools to hospitals..."
American Community survey 2016

Friday, December 8, 2017

Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

"Everyone can practice food safety during the holidays.
  • Wash your hands. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing food, after touching raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables, and before eating or drinking.
  • Cook food thoroughly. Meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature. Roasts, chops, steaks and fresh ham should rest for 3 minutes after removing from the oven or grill.
  • Keep food out of the “danger zone.” Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature. After food is cooked, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours. The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at or below 40°F and the freezer at or below 0°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs for dishes containing raw eggs. Salmonella and other harmful germs can live on both the outside and inside of normal-looking eggs. Many holiday favorites contain raw eggs, including eggnog, tiramisu, hollandaise sauce, and Caesar dressing. Always use pasteurized eggs when making these and other foods made with raw eggs.
  • Do not eat dough or batter. Dough and batter made with flour or eggs can contain harmful germs, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Do not taste or eat unpasteurized dough or batter of any kind, including those for cookies, cakes, pies, biscuits, pancakes, tortillas, pizza, or crafts. Do not let children taste raw dough or batter or play with dough at home or in restaurants.
  • Keep foods separated. Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery and in the refrigerator. Prevent juices from meat, poultry, and seafood from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keeping them in containers or sealed plastic bags. Store eggs in their original carton in the main compartment of the refrigerator.
  • Safely thaw your turkey. Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Avoid thawing foods on the counter. A turkey must thaw at a safe temperature to prevent harmful germs from growing rapidly..."
    Holiday food safety

Day of Infamy" Speech:

"On December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered this "Day of Infamy Speech." Immediately afterward, Congress declared war, and the United States entered World War II..."
Day of Infamy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

AMERICAN EXPERIENCES VERSUS AMERICAN EXPECTATIONS:An updated look at private sector employment for Women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and American Indians/Alaskan Natives in celebration of the EEOC's 50th Anniversary

"American Experiences versus American Expectations illustrates the significant changes to the United States workforce during the 50 years since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) opened its doors in 1965. The report is an updated look at the groundbreaking 1977 EEOC research Black Experiences Versus Black Expectations. Written by Dr. Melvin Humphrey, EEOC's then-director of Research, Black Experiences versus Black Expectations was the first major EEOC research report to use data collected through the EEO-1 survey to focus on the issue of racial inequality in the workforce. The report's title came from the gap between African American employment experiences in the workforce and expectations based on fair-share employment levels, defined at the time as the number of minorities employed at a rate equal to their employment availability. 
American Experiences versus American Expectations focuses on changes in employment participation from 1966 to 2013 not only for African Americans but also for Hispanics, Asian Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, and women. The participation rate represents the percentage of workers from each demographic group that hold positions in the variety of categories reported in the EEO-1 survey.
Beginning in 1966 all employers with 100 or more employees (lower thresholds apply to federal contractors) have been required by law to file the Employer Information Report EEO-1 with the EEOC. In FY 2013 approximately 70,000 employers filed an EEO-1. These forms indicate the composition of an employer's workforces by sex and by race/ethnic category[1]. The EEO-1 form collects data on nine major job categories.."
Minorities and Women employment data

Possible U.S. Policy Approaches to North Korea

"Since assuming office, the Trump Administration has raised the North Korea threat to a top-level foreign policy priority in response to the regime’s demonstrations of rapid military advances. Officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea has rebuffed U.S. and South Korean offers to negotiate on denuclearization since 2009 and has continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. In 2017, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapons test, and carried out two tests of long-range ballistic missiles that some observers believe have intercontinental range. All of these tests violate United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

North Korea is on track to develop and deploy the capability to attack the U.S. homeland with nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). U.S. intelligence estimates note that North Korea already likely has the capability to mount nuclear warheads on mediumrange ballistic missiles that can reach Japan and Guam, both of which have major U.S. military installations. Official statements by the Kim Jong-un government suggest it is striving to build a credible regional nuclear warfighting capability that could evade regional missile defenses. (See CRS In Focus IF10472, North Korea’s Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs.)..."
U.S. and North Korea

Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea: In Brief

"Some analysts have suggested that, in response to the accelerated pace of North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing programs and its continued threats against the United States and U.S. allies, the United States might engage in an aggressive negotiation strategy. Since the early 1990s, successive U.S. Presidents have faced the question of whether to negotiate with the North Korean government to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear program and ambitions. Questions for policymakers include the utility, timing, scope, and goals of diplomatic talks with Pyongyang.

The United States has engaged in four major sets of formal nuclear and missile negotiations with North Korea: the bilateral Agreed Framework (1994-2002), the bilateral missile negotiations (1996-2000), the multilateral Six-Party Talks (2003-2009), and the bilateral Leap Day Deal (2012). In general, the formula for these negotiations has been for North Korea to halt, and in some cases disable, its nuclear or missile programs in return for economic and diplomatic incentives. While some of the negotiations have shown progress, North Korea has continued to advance its nuclear and missile programs.."
North Korea nuclear negotiations

PIT and HIC Data Since 2007

"These raw data sets contain Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates and national PIT estimates of homelessness as well as national estimates of homelessness by state and estimates of chronic homelessness from 2007 - 2017. Estimates of homeless veterans are also included beginning in 2011. The accompanying Housing Inventory Count (HIC) data is available as well from 2007 - 2017.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Coping with Stress

"Find out how to manage stress after a traumatic event by following CDC’s tips for self-care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following information to help individuals cope with stress.
Strong emotions like fear, sadness, or other symptoms of depression are normal, as long as they are temporary and don’t interfere with daily activities. If these emotions last too long or cause other problems, it’s a different story.
Sometimes stress can be good. It can help you develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. Stress can be harmful, however, when it is prolonged or severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control..."

Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

"Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.
Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take These Steps for Your Home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion..."
        Winter safety

Fight the Flu!

"December 3-9 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, now’s the time! An annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect against flu.
This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) takes place December 3-9, 2017. NIVW highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

Vaccination is the Best Way to Prevent Flu!

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can still provide protection against flu. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February in the United States, although activity can last as late as May. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against flu when activity picks up in your community. View CDC’s influenza summary map for a weekly update on flu activity in the United States..."

Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients

"Learn how to prevent infections. Call your doctor right away if you get a fever or feel sick during your chemotherapy treatment.
Cancer patients who are treated with chemotherapy are more likely to get infections.Each year in the United States, 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized because their low white blood cell count led to a serious infection. One in 14 of these patients dies.
The immune system helps your body protect itself from getting an infection. Cancer and chemotherapy can damage this system by reducing your number of infection-fighting white blood cells, a condition called neutropenia. An infection can lead to sepsis, the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection.
Find out from your doctor when your white blood cell count is likely to be lowest, since this is when you’re most at risk for infection. This usually occurs between 7 and 12 days after you finish each chemotherapy dose, and may last as long as one week..."

Cancer patient infections

Analysis of the Long-Term Costs of the Administration’s Goals for the Military

"This report describes the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the costs and budgetary consequences through 2027 of the current Administration’s goals for increasing the readiness, size, and capabilities of the military. The report draws from the fiscal year 2018 budget request submitted by the Department of Defense (DoD) and from other official documents, including Congressional testimony presented by DoD officials.

The 2018 budget request calls for $640 billion in funding for the department. Of that total, $575 billion would fund base-budget activities (such as day-to-day military and civilian operations and developing and procuring weapon systems) and $65 billion would fund overseas contingency operations (OCO, mostly for the conflicts in Afghanistan and in Iraq and Syria).1 The base-budget funding request is 3 percent more than the amount that would have been requested for 2018 under the Obama Administration’s final Future Years Defense Program, the 2017 FYDP, after adjusting for inflation..."
Military long-term costs

Monday, December 4, 2017

Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects

"When federal agencies and programs lack funding after the expiration of full-year or interim appropriations, the agencies and programs experience a funding gap. If funding does not resume in time to continue government operations, then, under the Antideficiency Act, an agency must cease operations, except in certain situations when law authorizes continued activity. The criteria that flow from the Antideficiency Act for determining which activities are affected are complex.

Failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on full-year or interim funding measures occasionally has caused shutdowns of affected federal government activities. The longest such shutdown lasted 21 full days during FY1996, from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996. More recently, a funding gap commenced on October 1, 2013, the first day of FY2014, after funding for the previous fiscal year expired. Because funding did not resume on October 1, affected agencies began to cease operations and furlough personnel that day. A 16-full-day shutdown ensued, the first to occur in over 17 years..."
Federal government shutdown

Saturday, December 2, 2017

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

"Together, we can create inclusive communities where people with disabilities can be healthy and lead full, active lives. See how these 10 communities are doing it.
December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners are working together to create opportunities for people with disabilities to join in activities that promote health within their communities.
In the United States and around the world, people with disabilities face negative stereotypes, difficulty communicating, and physical, social and other barriers that prevent them from learning, living, working, and playing in their communities. We can work together to make our communities places where all people can thrive.
In 2016, CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities provided funds to its partner, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), for a project entitled Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities. Through this project, 5 states and 10 local communities are working together to build healthy communities specifically designed to include people with disabilities. This project provides people with disabilities opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, and community involvement. Here are some of the success stories..."
International Disabilities Day

Lead Hazards in Some Holiday Toys and Toy Jewelry

"Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.
Many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season but some toys may contain lead hazards. Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell.
Children may be exposed to lead by simply handling toys normally. It is normal for toddlers and infants to put toys, fingers and other objects in their mouths. They may also be exposed to lead this way.

Lead in Toys

Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.
Toys imported into the United States and antique toys and collectibles often contain lead. To reduce children’s risk for exposure, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues recalls of toys that could potentially expose children to lead. Learn more at the CDC Lead website..."
Lead and toys

Diabetes and Your Feet

"If you have diabetes, here’s a way to keep standing on your own two feet: check them every day—even if they feel fine—and see your doctor if you have a cut or blister that won’t heal.
There’s a lot to manage if you have diabetes: checking your blood sugar, making healthy food, finding time to be active, taking medicines, going to doctor’s appointments. With all that, your feet might be the last thing on your mind. But daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications.
Between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). You can have nerve damage in any part of your body, but nerves in your feet and legs are most often affected. Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet..."
Diabetes and feet

Say No to Raw Dough

"For many people, the holiday season is the perfect time to spend time together in the kitchen and share delicious baked foods and desserts. Follow these safety tips to help you and your loved ones stay healthy when handling raw dough.
When you prepare homemade cookie dough, cake mixes, or even bread, you may be tempted to taste a bite before it is fully cooked. But steer clear of this temptation—eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too.

Raw Dough Can Contain Bacteria That Cause Disease

Flour is typically a raw agricultural product. This means it hasn’t been treated to kill germs like Escherichia coli (E. coli). Harmful germs can contaminate grain while it’s still in the field or at other steps as flour is produced. The bacteria are killed when food made with flour is cooked. This is why you should never taste or eat raw dough or batter—whether made from recalled flour or any other flour. In 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour made 63 people sick. Flour products have long shelf lives and could be in people’s homes for a long time. If you have any recalled flour products in your home, throw them away.
In addition, raw eggs that are used to make raw dough or batter can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick if the eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked. Eggs are safe to eat when cooked and handled properly..."
Raw dough

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

"December 4‒8, 2017 is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. Older adults can take steps to stay safer on the roads.
Driving helps older adults—persons 65 and older—stay mobile and independent. However, as we age, declines in vision and cognition (ability to reason and remember), and physical changes may affect driving. Certain medical problems such as heart disease, dementia, sleep disorders, and limited hearing and vision place older adults at an increased risk of car crashes. Additionally, medicines, both prescription and over the counter, such as those used for sleep, mood, pain, and/or allergies among others may affect driving safety.
Older drivers are also at an increased risk of being injured or killed in a crash due to frailty and underlying health problems..."
Older Drivers

Don't Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight!

"January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, but half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Get a healthy start this year by learning about glaucoma and taking steps to reduce your risk of vision loss!

Know the Facts

  • Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and even blindness.
  • About 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide.
  • Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, results in increased eye pressure. There are often no early symptoms, which is why 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have the disease.
  • There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, but if it’s caught early, you can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. Taking action to preserve your vision health is key..."