Are You Tick Smart?

Ticks thrive in Maine’s wooded and unmaintained areas, such as high grass and leaf debris. They are particularly established in southern and coastal parts of the state. This year is an especially high-risk season but there’s no need to be afraid as long as you’re being tick smart.

Prevent ticks from reaching your backyard:

  • Maintain your yard by mowing grass regularly and attending to leaves, shrubs, etc.
  • Wear long-sleeved and light-colored clothing
  • Use insect repellant with at least 20% Deet
  • Have your pets vaccinated or medicated against ticks
  • Have a professional spray a perimeter pesticide

 

MYTH: Ticks die every winter.

Check yourself every day for ticks that may have hitched a ride:

  • Have a partner/parent help to check areas you can’t easily see
  • Check between toes, hands, underarms, behind the knees, around and in ears and hair
  • Shower after being outside—this helps wash off any ticks
  • Don’t re-wear outdoor clothes; tumble dry on high to kill ticks trapped in clothing

 

MYTH: Every type of tick carries disease.

If you see a tick attached to your skin, remove it immediately. It takes 36 hours for bacteria to leave the tick and be injected into your body.

  • With tweezers: pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t jerk or twist—this may cause tick material to stay in your skin.
  • With a tick spoon: apply slight downward pressure to skin and push forward under the tick’s body.
  • Do not crush the tick with your fingers! Put in alcohol or flush it down the toilet.
  • Wash your hands immediately and soak tweezers in alcohol, if needed.

 

MYTH: You’ll know if you get a tick bite.

If you were recently bitten by a tick and removal was successful, it’s still important to check your skin. If you have a rash, headaches, fever and flu-like symptoms after a tick bite, call your primary care provider right away.

March is National Nutrition Month

Join DFD all month long in celebrating National Nutrition Month! A foundation of good nutrition habits is key in preventing disease, staying healthy, and living a longer life.

Did you know?

  • 65% of Mainers are obese or overweight
  • By 2030, half of all Americans will be obese
  • 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented by diet and lifestyle changes

Take your health into your own hands! A great place to start is to begin to introduce new foods, rather than restricting foods as “off limits.” Add in more berries at breakfast, nuts and seeds for snacking, and more vegetables on your dinner plate. Nutritious eating leads to more energy, which leads to more physical activity – both leading to a higher quality of life.

DFD Celebrates Go Red for Women

Join DFD on February 1 as we wear red to raise awareness of the #1 killer of women: heart disease. Let’s fight together for our mothers, sisters, aunts and loved ones against this growing epidemic.

Did You Know?

  • Only 54% of women know heart disease is their #1 killer.
  • Heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 female deaths every year.
  • 200,000 heart disease deaths could be prevented each year.

At DFD we’re committed to preventative health. Changing your lifestyle can prevent heart disease:

  • Get Active. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Eat Healthy. Choose fruits, veggies and lean meats. Limit salt and sugars.
  • Quit Smoking. Quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Ask us about our smoking cessation program to help you kick the habit for good.

 

Fend Off the Flu

The Influenza virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs. It can keep you in bed for weeks or even develop into a severe respiratory illness that requires hospitalization. Make sure you and your family stay flu-free this season.

Avoid the flu:

  • Get the flu shot.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Avoid friends who are sick or have been sick in the last 5-7 days.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

Already have a cold or the flu? Take these steps to recover quickly:

  • Stay home, and get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory system hydrated.
  • Sit in a steamy bathroom or run a humidifier.
  • Treat aches and fever with medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Ask your doctor which one is right for you.

School Safety 101

DFD’s helpful tips for a fun and safe school year.

Class is back in session and DFD is here to help get your child;s school year off to a safe and healthy start.

Your child’s backpack should:

  • Have a padded back
  • Have wide, padded shoulder straps
  • Be the right fit: below the shoulder blades and right at the waist

School Bus Rules

When getting on the bus, remind your children to:

  • Stay away from traffic when waiting for the bus
  • Line up away from the street or road as the bus approaches
  • Wait until the bus has completely stopped and the door opens before entering

While riding the bus, remind your children to:

  • Buckle up if seat belts are available
  • Stay in their seat
  • Keep aisles clear of books and bags
  • Wait for the bus to completely stop before getting up from your seat

When getting off the bus, remind your children to:

  • Use the handrail when exiting the bus
  • Make sure the driver can see them
  • Stay away from the rear wheels at all times
  • When crossing the street, wait for a signal from the bus driver

Stop bullying in its tracks.

Make sure your kids are ready for a kind and caring school year. Remind them that bullying is never ok.

  • 30% of young people admit to bullying others
  • 28% of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying
  • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds

National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and DFD wants to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Vaccines help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases.

How does a vaccine work?

Vaccines are made from the same germs that cause disease, but the germs in the vaccines are either killed or weakened so they won’t make you sick. Once the vaccine is injected into your body, your immune system reacts to the vaccine by making antibodies. The antibodies destroy the vaccine germs, and then stay in your body, giving you immunity if you are ever exposed to the real disease. The antibodies are there to protect you!

Why are vaccines important?

Diseases like polio are becoming very rare in the U.S. because we have been vaccinating against them. However, vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles are still a threat and continue to infect U.S. children—resulting in hospitalizations and deaths each year.  The spread of dangerous diseases happen when children who aren’t vaccinated spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems.

Check out these new videos from the National Vaccine Program Office and learn how vaccines can keep you and the people you love stay healthy.