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By rzelich, courtesy iStockphoto
Time to pour a big glass of ice water and cozy up inside near the air conditioner, because it is seriously hot out there. A big chunk of the U.S. is broiling in a nasty combo of heat and humidity this week. Cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are expected to reach 100 degrees or more.

Because of climate change, heat waves are becoming worse and happening more often. And unfortunately, there are more to come, with back-to-back heat waves expected this season. Heat waves are even appearing in places you don’t expect. In Alaska, temperatures reached the 90 degree mark recently.

It’s not just the U.S. that’s suffering. Last month, Europe experienced a record-breaking heat wave. It was the hottest June on record for the continent, with France and Spain reaching triple digits. Dozens of people died in India this summer when the country experienced one of its longest heat waves, with temperatures over 120 degrees.

Follow these tips to stay safe during heat waves:

  • Stay inside in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have AC at home, go to a mall, library or community center. This is a great time to catch up on Netflix, or read that book you’ve had sitting next to your bed for weeks.
  • Drink plenty of water! Don’t wait until you’re overheated to drink. Stay away from soda, caffeinated drinks and alcohol, as they can make you dehydrated. 
  • Wear light-colored, loose, breathable fabrics.
  • If you’re in the heat and have symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or excessive sweating, call your doctor or head to the emergency room immediately.
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By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
courtesy of Flickr
Hurricane season has arrived in the U.S. In fact, one may form in the Gulf of Mexico this week. As you’re checking your TV, radio and phone for weather updates, remember to look out for hurricane warnings.

A hurricane warning is a signal that a hurricane has already started and could affect your local area. Hurricanes are predictable, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until they’re coming to prepare.
Getting ready for a storm takes a lot of planning and organization. It can take some time, and it might be stressful. You’ll need important supplies, such as a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, food and a first-aid kit.

And don’t forget to stock your car with supplies too! It’s important to have a car emergency kit in case you need to evacuate. This can include things such as an emergency kit, booster cables and printed maps. If you need to stay home, make sure you take steps to protect your space. Covering windows and tying up outdoor furniture are two things you can do to protect your home.

Talk to your family about the ways you can prepare for a hurricane. You can sit down and map out evacuation routes to your nearest shelter and contact them to make sure they’ll take your pets. After a hurricane, be aware of hazards like standing water in roads, wet electrical devices, damaged buildings and fallen power lines.
Stay safe and informed this hurricane season!
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By Elizabeth Rasmussen, courtesy of iStockphoto
Summer’s here, bringing hot weather with it for much of the U.S. The East and West coasts have already had their first heat waves of the season and it’s only been about a week since summer began.
Because of climate change, extreme heat is becoming more frequent in places that haven’t experienced it in the past. Climate change makes extreme heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent. Extreme heat presents many risks to human health, including death. So it’s important to understand the ways you can protect yourself. It’s much easier to prevent heat-related injuries than it is to treat them.

Before heading out, check news and weather sites to know which days are going to be hotter than average. On really hot days, don’t stay in the heat for long periods of time. Find cool spaces like indoor buildings with air-conditioning. Stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t do a lot of physical activity outside during a heat wave and be extra sure not to leave kids or pets in the car. Check on seniors to make sure they have a place to stay safe in the heat as well.

You can also take steps to prevent extreme heat by reducing your release of emissions that harm the climate. That means you can walk or bike to places rather than drive. Take public transit to work or carpool with friends. Shop locally grown foods that are in season.

For more everyday ideas to fight climate change, check out this tipsheet.
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By Lirtlon, courtesy iStockphoto
Bzzzzzz. Aaaaaaa! SPLAT! Mosquitoes are pesky little insects and most of the time when they bite you, mosquitoes just cause itching. But some also carry deadly diseases. In fact, mosquitoes can cause about 10 kinds of diseases, including Zika and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes usually come out during the summer months. But in warmer climates, they don’t completely go away during the other seasons either. And as the U.S. stays warmer year-round because of climate change, that’s happening in more and more states. Most areas of the U.S. have a local mosquito control program that helps to track and control mosquitoes. But you should also take steps to avoid mosquitoes on your own.

The best way to avoid getting sick from mosquitoes is to not get bitten.When outside, use insect repellent that’s been proven safe and effective by the Environmental Protection Agency. You can find a bug spray that works best for you and your family with this online tool from EPA.You can also wear permethrin-treated clothing or clothing with long sleeves. Permethrin repels insects when they come in contact with your clothes. Avoid wearing scented lotion and fragrances that attract mosquitoes.
Water collected in flower pots, trash cans, swimming pools and bird baths can become a home for mosquito eggs. Reduce mosquitoes around your home by removing areas of standing water.You should also install screens in your home to block out pests.

While traveling outside the U.S., take special care. Tropical countries have a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. You can take extra steps, like hanging mosquito netting around your bed. For more travel tips, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mosquito page.

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A child gets a measles vaccine in April 2014 in Paraguay.
(Photo courtesy Pan American Health Organization/ Flickr,
http://bit.ly/31FZAnE)
Measles cases are at a record 25-year high in the U.S.  As of June 6, more than 1,000 people in 28 states have gotten sick from measles. These numbers are shocking because there is a vaccine against measles.

To help people stay safe from the potentially dangerous disease, APHA’s Get Ready campaign has released a new measles fact sheet. The fact sheet, which is available in English and Spanish, teaches you about measles, its symptoms and how it spreads. You can learn why people still get measles and how you can prevent it.

And the best part? Our fact sheet is quick and easy to read. That means it’s perfect to share with your friends, family and co-workers. There’s even a place to add your own organization’s logo.
Read it, download it and share it today. Together, we can end measles outbreaks!
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Massive bleeding can happen anytime. Injuries ranging from cuts with a kitchen knife or chainsaw to a fall on a sharp object can cause you to bleed severely. A wounded person could die within five to 10 minutes of uncontrolled bleeding. It can happen that fast.

In our latest Get Ready podcast, we spoke with the American College of Surgeon’s “Stop the Bleed” program leader Lenworth Jacobs, MD. He talked with us about the program and emergency preparedness and why it’s important to be prepared to stop bleeding.

May is National Stop the Bleed Month, and National Stop the Bleed Day was May 23. Get Ready is part of this nationwide campaign to educate and raise awareness. 

In our podcast you’ll learn which communities are most at risk for a bleeding emergency and find out how preparing for serious bleeding is different than getting ready for other emergencies.
You’ll also learn what supplies you need to control bleeding and where you can get training. Everyone should learn how to better prepare themselves in case of a bleeding emergency.

Listen to our podcast or read the transcript  to get inspired to learn more to stop bleeding. Be prepared and know what to do in an emergency. You could save a life, even your own.


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Tornado season has arrived in the U.S., and it’s been a hard one already.

Parts of Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri have all experienced devastating tornadoes in recent weeks. And on May 28, powerful swirling winds ripped through northeastern Kansas, causing severe property damage and dozens of injuries.

Though tornado season runs from April through May, in recent years they’ve struck regularly in the U.S. through the beginning of summer, according to the National Weather Service. Winds can blow at over 200 miles per hour and cause major property damage, injuries and sometimes deaths.

That’s why it’s smart to prepare beforehand for the possibility of tornadoes, especially because they can strike from seemingly nowhere. You can reduce your risk of getting injured in a tornado by following some simple safety tips:

• Make and practice your emergency plans.  This should include stocking up on emergency food and water — enough to last for at least three days — as well as clothing and a first-aid kit.

• Keep important information handy, such as names, phone numbers, medical information and information for emergency services.

• Sign up for your community’s emergency alerts, which can be emailed or texted to you via your cellphone. You’ll receive automatic updates as a tornado comes your way, giving you more time to find safe shelter. Neighborhood tornado sirens will also give you a heads up.

• If you don't have a cellphone for alerts or no sirens, learn to read the sky for an approaching tornado by being aware of gathering storm clouds. The sky can look green and clouds become heavy. Sometimes funnels can be seen at a distance.

Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning when issued by weather agencies.  A tornado watch means a tornado is a possibility.  Once a tornado has been spotted, a tornado warning is issued. That’s when you need to take immediate action.

• Get ready to shelter in place. Go to a basement or to the lowest floor possible in a structure.  If that’s not an option, go to a room without windows

Still have questions about tornadoes? Get more info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and read our Get Ready tornado fact sheet
Photo by Randy Milanovic
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Imagine you’ve booked your dream vacation to a country that’s high on your travel bucket list. But when you get there, you come down with chills and a fever. Or during your trip, the quick lunch from the street food stand gets you feeling a bit queasy.

Traveling to a new place can be fun and exciting. It can also put you at risk for catching all kinds of bugs. Let’s face it: There’s nothing fun about getting sick anytime, much less on vacation. Luckily, you can take steps to reduce these risks. Here are some simple tips to prepare and stay healthy during your adventures abroad.

Before you go:
• Get vaccinated! Make an appointment to see your doctor or visit a travel health clinic at least six to eight weeks before you leave. Take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel quiz to find out what vaccinations are recommended.

• Do your research. Locate the hospital or clinic closest to where you are staying. The CIA World Fact Book and the U.S. Department of State Travel Information webpage can help your research.

• Prepare a travel first-aid kit. Every traveler should bring a first-aid kit. Medicine and supplies are not always readily available. Check out CDC’s Healthy Travel Packing List. Get destination-specific tips when you download CDC’s TravWell app on your mobile device.

During your trip:
• Wash your hands. Prevent infections by scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content in case clean water is not available.

• Eat and drink safely. Be careful of food and water contamination. If you’re not sure the water is safe, avoid ice and drink from sealed bottles or cans. Use bottled water to brush your teeth too. Eat food that is cooked well and served hot. Follow this rule: “Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it.”

• Protect yourself against bugs. Mosquitoes, lice, fleas, bed bugs and ticks can carry diseases, especially in tropical locations. CDC recommends using approved insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover your skin and using bug screens.

Happy travels!
Photo by RedCharlie, courtesy Unsplash

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Thanks to the Get Ready Photo Contest, our inbox has been overflowing with cuteness these past few weeks. We’ve seen adorable dogs, cats, birds, seals and more. It’s been so much fun to check our email each morning!

If you haven’t submitted your photos yet, don’t despair. The contest closes Wednesday, May 15.  That means there’s just enough time left for you to take and email us your pictures. (Hashtag: #WeekendPlans)

The contest theme is animals, and all critters are welcome. Submit pictures of pets, zoo animals, wild critters, farm animals or any other beastie. Winning photos will be featured in our 2020 preparedness calendar. Your pet doesn’t have to be doing anything related to preparedness. But if it is, even better!

For full details about the contest, check out our rules and FAQs.
Don’t miss your chance to make your pet a calendar star!

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When times are hard, putting food on the table can be a big worry, and it can be even more so after a disaster.

That's where community food banks come in. Because they have the know-how to distribute food, water and supplies fast, food banks serve a major role in communities during emergencies.

And because we never know when a disaster might occur, it’s important to keep local food banks stocked. Which is where you come in.

This Saturday, May 11, you can join the biggest one-day food drive in the country.  During the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, mail carriers across the country will pick up donated food items along with the mail.

You can take part by setting out a bag of food donations on Saturday morning. Items that are needed include pasta, cereal, rice and canned fruits and vegetables. Set your items next to your mailbox in a sturdy bag.

Last year, the food drive collected almost 724,600 pounds of food in one day, helping feed 603,800 people. This year we can do it again and support preparedness too.

For more info on the food drive, check out the FAQs. Contact your local post office if you want to confirm that they’re participating.

If you’re feeling inspired after Stamp Out Hunger is over, you can organize your own food drive using our Get Ready toolkit. Together, we can help to reduce hunger and help our communities be prepared!

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