Posts Tagged ‘St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’

CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF COLDS & FLUS

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

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With speculation of model/actress, Kim Porter’s, recent death being attributed to the flu or possibly pneumonia, we are reminding our Undercover Agents to be vigilant with their health during the holiday travel season. Richard Webby, Ph.D., a member of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Infectious Diseases Department and one of a select group of scientists responsible for determining the composition of flu vaccines each year, shares important tips for protecting you and your family.  “While the flu vaccine is the No. 1 way to protect yourself, there are other basic, lifesaving precautions you can take to minimize risk and help control spread of the virus,” Webby said. “This holiday season while millions of people travel, practicing a few simple steps can help combat the dangerous flu virus. Whether in the airport, on a train or in the car, we can all do our part to protect ourselves and our neighbors, while looking out for the most vulnerable members of our society.”

  • Get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available to you and your family. Having all members of your family vaccinated helps provide a circle of protection. All members of the family 6 months or older are recommended to receive an annual flu vaccine.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The flu is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.  If you are near an infected person who is coughing or sneezing, you might breathe in the flu virus. You might also become infected through touching.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. Until you are free of symptoms and a fever for 24 hours, you may still remain contagious. Cold and flu symptoms include coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills or fatigue. It is possible for people infected with a flu virus to infect others even a day before symptoms appear.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your face with your arm or a tissue. Then throw the tissue away and clean your hands. If you or a family member has a fever along with symptoms and has to leave the house, consider using a face mask in public to help control spreading the virus.
  • Avoid touching your nose and mouth. Touching objects like door handles or toys that have flu virus on them and then touching your mouth or nose is a prime way the flu virus spreads from person to person.

PREVENTING AND IDENTIFYING CHILDHOOD MELANOMA

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

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May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month. With over five million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is the most common cancer. As summer approaches, its time to up our sun protection for the entire family.  According to scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital genetic evidence proves that sun damage not only contributes to melanoma in adults, but also affects children and adolescents.  Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer because it often spreads to other parts of the body. Melanoma gets its name from melanocytes—skin cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which gives skin its color.

Don’t assume children cannot get skin cancer because of their age,” shares Dr. Alberto Pappo, director of the Solid Tumor Division at St. Jude’s.  “Unlike other cancers, the conventional melanoma that we see mostly in adolescents behaves the same as it does in adults.”  In fact, melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in younger patients and affects mostly teenagers.  “Children are not immune from extreme sun damage and parents should start sun protection early and make it a habit for life,” the good doctor adds.  Keys to prevention include:

  • Try to Avoid Going Outdoors When Sun’s Rays are the Strongest – Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., children should avoid direct UV rays as best possible.
  • For Infants Younger than 6 Months of Age, No Sun at All is Best – They can be at the beach or outdoors this summer, but need to be covered up, have on a hat and cover up their neck and extremities. It is best to avoid sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old because they can get significantly more exposure to the chemicals in sunscreen compared to older patients.
  • Use of Sunscreen to Prevent Sunburns – Sunscreen should be broad spectrum (effective against both UVA and UVB rays) and at least 15 SPF, although there is little evidence that anything above 50 SPF provides additional protective effects. (more…)