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Thursday, Apr 24th

Last updateWed, 23 Apr 2014 7am

You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant

Earth Day coming to Halifax

The good folks in the Town of Halifax are hosting their annual Earth Day Extravaganza Saturday, April 20, at the Halifax Farmers Market site on South Main Street beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 4 p.m.

Wise walking

Several pedestrians have had a few close calls in the Town of Halifax recently catching the attention of Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands and Town Manager Carl Espy.

Righting a wrong

Too often we take our law enforcement officials for granted.

Gesundheit

It’s that time of the year, I guess. Stomach bugs and the flu are continuing to make their rounds, and no one is exempt.

The latest victim is the Queen of England who was hospitalized Sunday suffering from a “stomach infection” that forced her to cancel or postpone a week’s worth of engagements.

It’s the first time in a decade Queen Elizabeth, now 86, has had to go to the hospital, but the stomach bug definitely is no respecter of persons and nothing to fool around with.

Seems like everywhere you go, somewhere either has the flu, a cold or the Norovirus.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control reported this year’s flu shot was doing a “startlingly dismal job” of protecting the elderly from the harshest strain.

The vaccine was proving to be only 9 percent effective.

To add insult to injury, in the midst of the winter flu outbreak, another virus — Norovirus — also has spread quickly throughout the area. 

Doctors’ offices report being slammed with patients suffering from stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting which is especially dangerous for the elderly and children because it leads to dehydration.

And who wants to drink liquids when you feel like nothing is going to stay on your stomach?

With the flu raging and Norovirus running rampant, folks are having a tough time determining why they’re sick – Is it the flu? Norovirus? A respiratory illness?  Or just the common cold? 

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting the Norovirus outbreak in 47 out of 50 states, so if you’re suffering stomach ailments like the queen, it’s a good bet that’s what you’ve probably got. 

According to information provided by Doctors Express, unlike influenza which spreads through the air, Norovirus lives on surfaces or food people touch, is easily transmitted, very contagious and can infect anyone. This virus is so strong that hand sanitizer does not really stop it from spreading.

The best way to help prevent Norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness.

“Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this particular virus,” said Dr. Scott Burger, co-founder and chief medical officer of Doctors Express. “If there is a silver lining to this predicament, it’s that proper hygiene is the best source of prevention. So, we are urging people to be extra vigilant about washing their hands and cleaning off all surfaces with bleach products.”

Norovirus fast facts:

People with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least three days after they recover. But, some people may be contagious for even longer.

 Norovirus outbreaks occur throughout the year. But, over 80 percent of the outbreaks occur from November to April.

 Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths.

 Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States.

Prevention tips:

 Practice proper hand hygiene - wash hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. Hand sanitizer should be used if soap is not available, but it is not a substitute.

 Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

 Do not prepare food while infected.

 Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces - use a bleach-based household cleaner or use a solution made with five tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per one gallon of water.

 Wash laundry thoroughly — immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Use hot water and machine dry.

And we can all hope the cold temperatures and snow we’re seeing today will help kill some of these germs.

Here’s one who’s looking forward to spring. It’s only two weeks away.

Going paperless

Effective Friday, anyone who receives Social Security payments or veterans’ benefits by mail will have to make arrangements to have their payments made by direct deposit into a bank account or onto a debit card.

A valiant fight

You couldn’t help but love him.

Putting the heart in Valentine’s Day 

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and it’s not just about romantic love, candy hearts and flowers. 

Back door approach

Opponents of uranium mining may have had the upper hand Thursday when Sen. John Watkins withdrew his SB 1353 to avoid a vote because he knew 11 or 12 of the 15 on the Senate Ag Committee were against the bill that directed the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling. 

Back to the drawing board

We expect several mouths were agape Thursday afternoon when senior associate J. Paul Lewis of Dewberry presented the board of supervisors with a master plan for the Halifax County Fairgrounds – complete with its $18.3 million price tag.